I have to say this has been one of the most rewarding and fun activities I have done with my daughter- sitting together and working in our art journals. It’s relaxing and easy and inspiring and such a fun thing to share!
Here’s how it all began~
Lucy is one of those kids that loves to learn, really loves it. She is extremely inquisitive about everything (that little mind never stops), has a great imagination, is reading fluently (and must know what each and every word means if she’s never heard it before) and loves talking about stories. The list goes on and on- that girl loves to learn!
The only area where she lacked some confidence was writing and drawing. Fine motor skills can be challenging- it’s hard for those little hands and fingers to get on paper what your brain sees. But, not only was it challenging and a bit frustrating, but I felt like she over thought what her writing and drawing looked like and compared it to the other kids around her. It just seemed so young for someone to already be so critical of themselves and so aware of herself in comparison to others, but she was.
So, summer came, and I remembered reading about a project on one of my favorite blogs, Tinkerlab. It was called Tinkersketch, and basically it was a challenge to use your sketchbook everyday. I remember the author had mentioned how her own kids were more creative when they witnessed her creativity.
I thought hard about doing it, but was really nervous. I don’t think I’ve ever even owned a sketchbook in my life. I am NOT an artist and do not feel creative in any way. I’m a very math/science type person and definitely have a type A personality. Creative is the last word I would use to describe myself. So how could I model creativity for my kids?
The more I thought about it, it was just what Lucy and I both needed. She had the same hesitations I had in a way, and what better way to help her, than model my going through it myself.
I grabbed a notebook I had (a little Moleskin journal because I am addicted to pens and notebooks (I would never dare to call them journals or sketchbooks). And I just sat by Lucy while she was doing stuff and drew. I don’t even remember what it was. She just watched and wanted to do it too. So, she grabbed an old notebook and drew random lines and threw some stickers in. We talked while we were doing it- She wondered what I was drawing, she said a few words about hers, it was nice. Then I uploaded it on Instagram to share with the other Tinkersketchers (#tinkersketch). I remember being soooooooo nervous about it- putting it out there in public- how embarrassing!! But, I amazingly survived and Lucy loved seeing it on the iphone.
So we did it again the next day. It became a fun routine that we both looked forward to everyday. We made a trip to Michaels eventually and picked out our own sketchbooks (crazy!) and began using those. Most of the time we’d follow a prompt that was provided or become inspired by another tinkersketch we had seen, but eventually, one of us would start coming up with our own ideas. “I know, Mom! Let’s use paints and stickers today!” (I’d say 85% of Lucy’s artwork includes stickers- probably with princesses or fairies.)
Fast forward to today and the transformation in both of us is amazing. I love my time working in my sketchbook. I even do it alone sometimes- it’s peaceful and relaxing. I am quite aware that I have no idea what I’m doing really, but I don’t care. It’s fun and I think that’s the point. And when I do it with Lucy, it’s a special time for us. (Although Theo does like joining in sometimes too.) We can talk about anything (sketchbook related or not) and just have fun. Lucy LOVES drawing now and even writing words. She makes posters and signs all over our house, she creates books full of illustrations and writing and, most importantly, is confident and proud.
Now that summer break has ended and Lucy is back in preschool, we don’t do our sketchbooks daily, but we still do them frequently, especially when inspiration hits us. The other night we were reading a Charlie & Lola book and Lucy said, “Look how the pictures look real and not real. How did they do that?” So we studied them and decided we’d try it ourselves the next day in our journals. The next morning we cut out some pictures from old magazines and glued them in our journals. Then we added our own drawings. Lucy was so excited to be able to recreate what she had seen in her storybook!
I hope we’ll continue this for years and Theo will join in more often. I can’t wait to take him to get his first sketchbook too!