Taking the plunge
There is nothing so terrifying as the first page of a new sketchbook. Its blankness stares back at you unblinking. Daring you to make your first mark. Willing you to make an error the moment your pen or pencil touches the paper.
For this reason I know of artists who deliberately ignore the first page, turning it over, thus feeling they have succeeded in out manoeuvring the book by starting on the next page !
I understand exactly how they feel. At one stage I always started at the back and worked my way forward. Hoping that by the time I reached the front I might have something worth looking at..
Wherever you start, a blank page can be daunting, and the best way I have found to overcome this feeling is simply to make a mark.
It doesn't have to be large. It can be a line. It can be a dot. It can be incorporated into whatever is going to be on that page or it can stand alone.
It doesn't matter. The fact is, you have done SOMETHING and the page isn't pristine any more. It cannot harm you.
Part of our trouble I believe is the feeling that our sketch needs to be a seeringly honest, painstakingly precise drawing, with every line immaculately placed at the first attempt. Nothing else will do.
Sadly, few of us have that ability, although with time and constant practice, our abilities will improve.
Sketchbooks are an artist's diary. What goes on between its covers is between the artist and the sketchbook. You don't have to show it to anyone, although it's always nice to share when things go right ! Ultimately, whatever you put in your sketchbook should be fun.
Don't give in to the tyranny of the blank page !