Download materials list for Mike Henderson’s workshop by clicking here
Artist Michael Henderson believes a personal sketchbook journal is simple, useful, fun, rewarding, and life changing. He says it is the essential tool for travelers to celebrate their adventures, artists to build up their skills, and planners to organize their ideas. The act of journaling turns thoughts into visual images and language that not only record the moment, but also build new and a more accessible memory.
In this workshop, each participant will be provided a large sheet of art paper to make a folded sketchbook. This will create a 36-page sketching and writing platform for the day’s activities. Since the pages’ surfaces can be marked with a number of different tools (the absolute minimum being a pen) participants are required to bring only a few items that are reasonably universal (see Minimum Materials List above). Anything additional is also welcome.
Through hands-on practice, participants are introduced to the fun and engaging world of the small-format sketchbook. Henderson will present examples throughout the workshop with the assistance of PowerPoint presentations and live demonstrations of various art techniques using both dry and wet media. Subjects include the types of sketchbooks available, their benefits and uses; the “how to” of various tools; discussion of different approaches to page compositions, sketching practices, and drawing techniques in pen and pencil; as well as the addition of color with water color pencils and water soluble graphite pencils applied using a waterbrush.
“You grow along with your journaling abilities through engagement; you can only learn to draw by drawing, write by writing, organize by organizing,” Henderson says. A handy cellphone-sized or electronic notebook-sized sketchbook makes it possible for everyone to jot down a thought or to quick-sketch an image while out for a run, sitting in the doctor’s office, riding the bus, waiting in line at the bank, relaxing at a restaurant, or sitting on a bench across from Notre Dame Cathedral.
From putting together a grocery list, to jotting down ideas on global peace, no idea is too small or too large to fit on the pages of a sketchbook journal. It is the place to deconstruct complex ideas and reorganize thoughts, Henderson says. “A place to try out something different, to be daring, to stumble, to reflect, and to change your mind.”
Henderson says, trial and error is the working principle, where “mistakes” are embraced and solutions are never far or few. A form of self-communication, it is not about pleasing or impressing anyone but yourself. It can be formal or informal, neat as a pin or as messy as a teenager’s bedroom, private as a diary or as public as a newspaper. It’s all up to you.
Michael Henderson is an artist, traveler, casual writer, and hardware store salesman who has lived on the Mendocino coast since 1977. He has conducted the “Back to the Basics” drawing workshop at Gualala Arts annually for the past 6 years. With the introduction of “Sketchbook Journaling,” he brings his experiences and successful teaching style together to focus on the popular use of sketchbooks to explore yourself and the world around you. He has dabbled in multiple art mediums since his preteens. An amateur naturalist, he wrote and published The Beachcomber Quarterly for eight years during his Anchor Bay days. He also wrote and co-edited Mendocino Coast Memories, oral histories of our local coast. He has created various graphics designs over the years for the t-shirt and sweatshirt market, which are still seen on campers and locals alike. He has won fine arts awards for his drawings and ceramics works.
“Sketchbooks are a necessary part of my creative process, from writing an article to building a website, or planning a drawing, a gift card, and even a pottery design. Getting fresh ideas down on paper quickly converts my imagination into language and visual images that help me organize multiple layers of meaning, work out details, discover and solve problems, all in an effort to turn dreams into realities. While most of my ideas don’t launch into the stars, one will occasionally turn into action. It doesn’t matter, though; my sketchbooks are more about my journeys than my arrivals.”