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By GJ Gillespie, artist and founder of Leda Art Supply

Sketching is one of the most enjoyable, relaxing, and creatively fulfilling hobbies an individual can take up. Whether you're an advanced artist honing your skills or just starting on your creative journey, keeping a sketchbook for drawing and sketching has immense benefits.

First, sketching flexes your visual observation muscles. As you draw an object, scene, or concept, you train yourself to observe shape, dimension, texture, light, and color more acutely. Your eyes and brain subconsciously become more attuned to visual nuance and detail.

Second, sketching boosts creativity and problem-solving. The process of translating a 3D object or scene into 2D lines and shading forges neural connections between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. This integration strengthens your ability to find innovative solutions in all areas of life. 

Sketching also cultivates mindfulness and presence. As you sit and purposefully observe your subject, noticing small particulars, you become immersed in the moment. This meditation-like focus relieves stress and brings you joy.

Many renowned artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to Paul Cézanne, kept sketchbooks to experiment, practice techniques, and constantly foster their creativity. They knew that consistently sketching stimulates artistic growth. 

You don't need innate talent or skill to benefit from sketching. Overcome that intimidating inner critic and dive in. Allow yourself to make mistakes and explore. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on the process and enjoyment.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • - Simply observe and draw whatever is around you. Still life objects, plants, pets, or people make great subject matter.
  • - Try sketching the same object or scene from different perspectives or in different lighting. Notice how it changes. 
  • - Use basic materials like graphite pencils, charcoal, pens, or markers. Advanced tools can come later.
  • - Start with quick gesture sketches to capture basic shapes and proportions. Then add detail slowly.
  • - Loosen your grip, sketch lightly, and don't erase. Making "mistakes" is part of the process. 

At Leda Art Supply, we offer a range of premium sketchbooks perfect for igniting your drawing practice. Our new square and horizontal formats provide fresh inspiration to spark creativity. 

Don't let doubts hold you back from discovering the joys and benefits of sketching. As British artist Henry Moore said, “The secret of life is to have a task, something you bring everything to.” Make sketching your new happy task!

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