Inside my Sketchbook

I have been debating whether to share pages from my sketchbook for a while, ever since I promised to share the behind the scenes of Cotton & Flax, even the not so glamorous stuff. The thing is, I feel like I have a very warped perspective of what an artist’s sketchbook is supposed to look like. I would see beautiful sketchbooks on Book By Its Cover and think, “Is that what my sketchbook should look like?! Those sketchbooks look so perfect, filled with lots of finished drawings and paintings!” I started to feel bad that my sketchbooks almost never feature any finely polished drawings.


For me, the sketchbook is where I work out “problems.” Where I develop new ideas and practice new techniques. I allow myself to be weird and messy in my sketchbook because it frees me to work without worry. It might not always be pretty to look at, but I look at my sketchbook less as an art piece in and of itself, and more as a tool that I use to create my own art.


Ultimately, I wanted to share these pages to erase any doubt that my designs just pop into my head as finished patterns. It takes me quite a while to develop the final patterns, and my sketchbook is a huge part of that process. Do you keep a sketchbook? Do you share it with anyone? Would love to hear what my creative readers use their notebooks for!

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About Erin Dollar

Owner, maker, and designer behind Cotton & Flax. Since 2010, she has been creating modern screenprinted home goods, as well as fine art prints on paper, from her home studio in Los Angeles, California.
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5 Responses to Inside my Sketchbook

  1. Keiry says:

    Erin seeing this makes me feel so much better! hehe. I feel the same about my sketchbook, I do fashion design, and I have a very “weird” way of sketching my ideas, and methods. I don’t share it with anyone, but seeing you share has inspired me to do so in the future. I personally think your sketchbook is wonderful. You’re a textile designer and it shows from your sketchbook, leave the finished paintings to the painters, you keep on creating your wonderful patterns and textiles.
    (new fan from Miami) -Keiry

  2. kathleen says:

    I’m exactly the same way. My sketchbook is filled with all kinds of random doodles, notes, color recipes, trials and errors, and other nonsense. Yours actually looks WAY better than mine! :-)

  3. Melissa says:

    To repeat the above comments… I feel so much better! I am exactly the same way – my sketch book is where I try things new, fresh, silly, ugly and from this the fruit of finished occurs! Thank you for a real look in a sketchbook brain. :D

  4. Laura says:

    Your sketchbook is really neat! Love seeing other folks’ sketchbooks. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pingback: Letting things go | Cotton & Flax

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