The coronavirus crisis has been going on for a couple of weeks here in the US. It was something that many of us didn’t see coming, and the self-quarantine that followed also took many of us by surprise! Now that my family and I have accepted self-quarantine as a new, albeit temporary, normal, I felt like it was time to make a sketchbook page.
The goal of my page was twofold: first, I wanted to help myself process my situation. I decided to focus on what I’m feeling/thinking now, and transfer that onto the page via text and colors. Second, I wanted to record this time in my personal history. Someday soon, coronavirus will be a thing of the past, and I know that — despite the fact that this all feels so real right now — I won’t remember specifics. A sketchbook page will help me to remember what our lives looked like at this time. In case you want to make a page similar to this one, I’ve outlined my process in this post!
1. Start With a Pencil Draft
For many of us, home has even more importance than usual right now! It represents a place that keeps ourselves and others safe. To acknowledge that, I used a mechanical pencil to draw my house at the bottom of my sketchbook page.
An “embroidered” sign peeking out from behind my roof underlines the theme of the coronavirus crisis.
Next, I decided to record what we are eating a lot of at home. In “real life”, we patronize local cafés and restaurants several times per week, so figuring out things to cook at home has presented a bit of a challenge!
I also think it’s important to record what we are doing for fun, which is indulging in screen time and the great outdoors.
I normally don’t write a lot in my sketchbook, but this is a unique page topic. With that in mind, I decided it is important to write a list of the things I miss. I want to remember these things later, once everything gets back on track, and really appreciate them!
To finish up, I waffled between making an “I’m Grateful That …” section or an “I’m Worried About …” section. Gratefulness won out because I don’t want to indulge my worries — many of which I really don’t have much control over!
To fill out the rest of the page, I added hands, soap bubbles, and a Robert Frost quote.
2. Add Ink
Once you’ve drafted out a sketchbook page, it’s time to add ink! I always draw over my sketchbook drafts with Ziller Soot Black because it’s velvety, matte, and totally waterproof.
For this particular sketchbook page, I just used a straight pen and a Nikko G nib. This simple combination works wonderfully for pages that involve a lot of hand-lettering and illustrations, like this one. That’s because the nib’s medium flex gives you excellent control!
3. Add Color
As the mother to a very active toddler, I almost have to use portable watercolors to fill in my sketchbook pages! That’s because I’m constantly moving myself and my sketchbook to be in the same room as my son. That said, I love watercolors for reasons besides their portability. For example, see how well they blend to make my title stand out:
After two much-needed hours of introspection and relaxation, I finished filling in my sketchbook page with watercolors. I was pleased with how the page turned out, but more than that, I felt grateful for the opportunity to process things. In particular, counting my blessings and allowing myself to acknowledge the things that I miss helped me to feel good!
I know that everywhere you look in the news right now, you’re seeing “coronavirus”, so I hesitated to write this article. That said, I think a lot of us could use a creative project that specifically acknowledges this crazy time! And, really, that’s what a sketchbook journal is for: to simultaneously record your life and help you to navigate it. A handful of years from now, when you look back at the sketchbook page you made during the crisis, you’ll be glad you took the time to make it (and so will your grandchildren)!
Stay healthy, write on, and have a wonderful weekend!