Final Reflections on the Sketchbook Challenge- last 10 days

Sketchbook Challenge Galia Alena
I've come to the end of this challenge and while I've loved the practice, I'm also really looking forward to liberating this sketchbook from the table with the camera and setting it free into the wild as a sketchbook should be. I'm also looking forward to some art journaling and am wondering how to incorporate both practices into my limited time. I'm also curious to see how some of things I've played with in my sketchbook will emerge on the journal page.

I had been thinking about another challenge involving art journaling and yoga but luckily I've had an intervention and will be busy for awhile with Gillian Lee Smith's Portraits- Your Way, Your Art. Her work is truly inspiring and her classes are comprehensive and so generous. I've been following her journey for a few years now and her own work has leaped and bounded in ways that have been magical to watch- really looking forward to how she will stretch me. Thank you Gillian Xx

Sketchbook Challenge Galia Alena rumi quote

What I'm noticing now:
  • Practice does not make perfect (at least not in the time I have for it), but that's ok, perfect is over rated and boring.
  • I could paint something in less time than it takes to draw something and there are way more places to hide ;) .
  • Drawing helps you to see- to see what is really there not what you think is there, or how you think it should look.
  • So easy to over work watercolours.
  • I need to practice more.
  • My lines are still wobbly and lacking in confidence.
  • The aftermath in my studio is much easier to clean up after drawing than playing in the mixed media domain.
  • I need to practice more.
Videos for each day can be found over on my Youtube channel here.

Final thoughts on Challenge: 
This is not the first challenge that I've undertaken. They have been really useful to keep me motivated and creating during times when Iife is distracting me from my creative endevours. However I've come to not like the word "challenge"- it suggests hardship, struggle, fight, pushing through and defence. While I will continue to do these sorts of stretches on my practice, I'm going to reframe them and rename them more in alignment with my path, and with more ease and grace. So I'm looking for a word to replace "challenge"- do you have one?

Sketchbook Challenge Galia Alena gum nuts and pods
Sketchbook Challenge Galia Alena feathers
Final notes on material:

I used a Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook which has an off white colour but not as much as their regular sketchbook. The paper had mixed feelings with the watercolour, it sits on top not really transitioning well but doesn't show on the other side. Inks, on the other hand, like my  Elegant writer, did. The paper was also quite buckled so if any wet media went on the page the other side would be tricky to draw on. The paper also doesn't have any tooth for pencil work. Nice and smooth for pen work, I mostly used Prismacolor Premier Illustration Markers enjoying the 0.3 the most.
Sketchbook Challenge Galia Alena cockatoo

I'm planning to try some other journals when I finish this one. Do you have a favourite? I'd love to hear in the comments, along with why. I love these
Fabriano Venezia Drawing Books, the paper takes the ink and paint well, not bleeding through but it doesn't lay flat when open. From my research the Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks sound really good, even if they have so many options to choose from. I think I'll try one or two of these- first to finish off this one :)


  1. I so agree with you about the connotations of the word 'challenge'! What if you rephrase it as 'exploration'?

    1. Its a horrible word when you consider its meaning, totally out of context here and yet there's this piece about the daily showing up- "the Practice" is the closest I've gotten to that bit :)

  2. How about "tap" as in tapping into the great and unlimited wellspring of creative potential? Or any variation on this theme, like "Immersion" or "Flow" or "Unplugged" or "Pop the Cork" or "Dip."

    1. I think I'm a binge "tapper" which is the point of the "challenge"for me- the way that I get swept away with the creative flow at times and then nothing- it is the routine, and the practice is the bit I'm trying to reframe- does that make sense -The Showing Up Xx

    2. Yes. Just used a thesaurus to look up synonyms for practice and came across interesting choices. I once tried to change my relationship to discipline. Rather than imposing rules and structure from my head, I wanted to cultivate a practice that sprang joyfully from the heart. Instead of seeing daily spiritual practice as a limitation, see it as a privilege, a freedom, and a path filled with a Grace. As Mary Oliver wrote, "be a bride married to amazement."

    3. Absolutely- how we choose to frame something in choice can make all the difference. I learnt from a dear friend to "love up" my space instead of doing housework and the value of a "Get to do" list over a "to do list"- bring a lot of choice, privilege and grace makes all the difference.


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