Most of the time running my own business feels like a dream come true: I love juggling the diversity of all the roles, and getting to challenge myself and learn more about topics like marketing, accounting and general business management.
However, sometimes all these other tasks can become overwhelming, and I can feel almost paralysed by how much there is to manage. When this happens, I find it’s best to reset and get back to my creative roots, and that’s when I know it’s time for a sketchbook day.
In January 2017, I went to Paris for a few days and visited the Picasso-Giacometti exhibition at the Musée Picasso. Ever since then I’ve been fixated on the artwork that I saw, and my mind has been filled with greyscales, lines and angles.
"Guitar" by Pablo Picasso, 1924
Learning about the relationship between Picasso and Giacometti was quite inspiring, and I really appreciated being able to see their works next to each other, and to gain an insight into their unique correspondence. As an extra bonus, I was lucky enough to be at the museum with my aunt, who just happens to be an incredibly knowledgeable art historian. Visiting a museum with her is like having your own private tour, and her wealth of knowledge never ceases to amaze me.
"Suspended Ball" by Alberto Giacometti, 1931
After spending so much time in front of a computer doing basic work admin, I love getting hands-on with my sketchbook, and the Picasso-Giacometti exhibition has been my creative launchpad for this year. I try to use these sketchbook days to loosen up and to create without overthinking, and that’s why I’ve developed some pretty particular rules for how I work.
Firstly, I move all rubbers far out of reach. As a natural control-freak and perfectionist, it took a long time to build up my confidence in drawing, and I’m determined not to lose it! I don’t have any natural talent when it comes to drawing, and none of my doodles are anything to write home about, but I’m perfectly happy with that; each thing I draw is honest and carries my own mark.
A monochrome mess: working on my sketchbook (Image source: Emma Wood)
Secondly, I try to complete each drawing or sketch in just a few minutes. I put perfection to the side, in favour of trusting my instincts and going with the flow. Naturally this means I’ve created some shockingly awful things over the years, but more often than not I end up being pleasantly surprised by the results. I’m also one of those people whose head is always bursting with ideas, and this method of working quickly feels like a dam of creativity being released!
For some reason, I've been fixated lately on this simple block collage from my sketchbook. Maybe if I stare at it for long enough, I'll finally figure out what I love about it so much?! (Image source: Emma Wood)
Lately, I’ve also noticed that I’ve been using collage more and more in my sketchbooks. I seem to have developed a habit of putting down the pen in favour of picking up the scissors, and so far, I’m loving it. I cut the shapes directly out of paper without drawing them first, and I find it really satisfying to see the layers build up. I enjoy the imperfect lines I cut, and the bold way the shapes dominate the pages of my sketchbook. Most importantly, however, I love the excuse collage gives me to spend hours perusing the paper selection at Modulor.
One of my favourite collages; I love the lines, contrast and texture (Image source: Emma Wood)
At the moment I’m not sure where my current sketchbook work will lead me. I’m hoping I can use these drawings and collages to develop a new collection, but I’m still not sure what shape or form it will take. Luckily, that’s another one of the things I appreciate about getting to run my own business – setting my own agenda and timeline, and being able to afford the luxury of time when it comes to being creative. Tomorrow I’ll probably be back at the computer, trying to navigate the German tax system and attempting to become a marketing guru, but for now I’m going to stick with my paper and scissors.