Sunday 28 July 2013


MY SKETCHBOOKS rarely get shown to anyone. For me it is too vulnerable and exposing an experience letting someone else leaf through my unfinished scribbles, personal expressions and thoughts, especially whilst I am there!

I wish I was one of those people who had shelves and shelves of their past sketchbooks and journals, labeled diligently on the spines by year, but I'm not. 

Many of my sketchbooks get abandoned halfway through and left for years at the bottom of a drawer, only to be filled with new scribbles of a (by then quite altered) style when I'm in want of empty pages. 

I'm disorganised and unmethodic in my sketchbookkeeping. Roughs for paintings are often barely more than my own untranslatable hieroglyphic lines.

Populating the pages mostly are the odd vagabonding outcasts of my imagination ...

... as well as Tom sleeping and Macha between expeditions.

I draw in pencil, pen, charcoal ...

I draw from life, whether my subjects are sitting across from me in a cafe or on a train or in the otherworld.

In old sketchbooks I enjoy finding things I'd forgotten I'd drawn

A while ago I made a resolution to draw something in my sketchbook every day. No matter whether or not I felt inspired I forced pen to paper and produced something even if it was rubbish, even if it was just a scribble. I kept this up for a good part of a year and looking back over these pages now, I am pleased with what came out then; the drawings feel like notes from a delicious ongoing conversation with the imaginal world in which I was immersed.

My drawings come and go when they please. Sometimes they get finished, sometimes barely begun.

Sometimes the characters I find peering out from the pages at me are at once familiar and surprising, as if I did not draw them, but might have met them once in a dream.

These drawings shown here are small glimpses of pages from my sketchbooks spanning several years, which I felt (only just) brave enough to show you.

Whilst digging through them, I unearthed some old drawings which I thought someone in the world might like to own. Some will be familiar to you, some have never been shown before. Roll up and grab them if you feel so moved...

Elsie - pencil - available to buy here
(I drew this one a few years ago whilst sitting on the street selling my work,
only to look up and see her walk past!)

The Fish Who Pulled the House - pencil - available to buy here

Greta - pencil - available to buy here

Hiding the Hedgehog - pencil - available to buy here

In the Leshy Forest 1 - pencil - available to buy here
(these two were published in the Tiny Pencil Forests issue)

In the Leshy Forest 2 - pencil - available to buy here
(these two were published in the Tiny Pencil Forests issue)
Joseph - pencil - available to buy here

Who the Owl Said - pencil - available to buy here

The Spoon-Eared Child - pencil - available to buy here

The Unbeknown - pencil - available to buy here

This post is for Priya Sebastian, a wonderful artist based in Bengaluru, India, who asked me some time ago if I would put up some pages from my sketchbooks. (Though her own are far more interesting.) Thanks to Priya for making me look through my old pages! 

Whilst we are on the subject of drawing... my good friend Nomi McLeod who makes beautiful, delicate, raw and magical drawings in pencil has opened an etsy shop - Air & Parchment - selling prints, cards and originals, where I urge you to scurry, forthwith!

And before I depart, I shall leave you with a small platter of links to a smattering of artists who draw like demons and whose work I follow with great admiration...

Hita Hirons (my sister in law)



Charlotte said...

Gorgeous, and very brave. I think sketchbooks are where we dare to fail. It takes a lot to share that. I was heartened to know you don't keep to a disciplined usage of books too. Thank you for the peep through the knothole in the covers.

Anonymous said...

I love to see sketches and scribbles, glimpses of someone's private thoughts and musings. Very special, indeed. Thank you for sharing these, especially as you didn't find it easy to do. I am just learning to draw, after years of wanting to do so, and these are incredibly inspiring!

Cobalt Violet said...

This is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your lovely creative sketchbooks. I rarely sketch anymore and this makes me want to get back to it! They are wonderful and so imaginative!

Unknown said...

Thanks for (always) sharing, Rima!
I love your blog.

Karen said...

Lovely to see your sketches Rima. It does make one wonder where these faces /characters come from. Often when I'm on the verge of sleep I see faces of people I've never met before. I've always found this quite strange but fascinating.
I'm also not an organised sketchbook keeper and leave books unfinished, then start new ones or sketch on A4 cheap printing paper etc (cringe) I have sometimes felt not a 'proper artist' because of this. You have made me feel better now. ;)

Willow said...

Rima, Thank you for the vulnerability ... the glimse into your sketch books ~ fascinating ~fabulous.

FreeDragon said...

I love your bear sleeping around the house!

Sylvia said...

Rima these are so haunting and compassionate and lovely! What a beautiful window into the footpaths and overgrown traintracks of your imagination. Your people and faces are so moving and their eyes haunt me and I'm sure everyone else too who sees them, like we know them as well, from the wild dark magic places between abandoned buildings, hedges, woods, in our hearts. So tender and strange! Thank you for sharing them and lots of love, S

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing, I love all of them. Drawn from life you say, very interesting to be able to see how you see, in little glimpses.

Clare Wassermann said...

Thank you for being brave. I love sketchbooks of artists. A window into your more raw soul x

Ronnie (RR) said...

Thank you for being brave, all your work is wonderful to view. You have amazing talent

olive said...

Rima.... thank you for sharing your private world. They are so beautiful and it gives hope to others out here... xx

Priya Sebastian said...

I’ve come back to this post many times and as I slowly scroll through the pictures I find myself emotional each time. It is as you said, very intimate and personal. The pure energy that glows out of your sketches is just very very beautiful and haunting.

This is perhaps the most difficult blog comment that I have ever written because it expresses so little of what I feel after looking through your post. I am touched that you have shown us this glimpse into your sketchbooks at my request. Thank you.

Nomi McLeod said...

Ooo a cheeky look at your sketchbooks...A lovely idea for a post Rima. And thank you thank you with great amazed humbleness at your kind words about my drawings, and my new little shop :)


Tiffany Davidson said...

That was very touching, Rima.
Tom sleeping & the little windblown girl holding the bird were my favorites. Greta, too.

Best to you x

Jess said...

It was such a joy to see your wonderful sketches! I love how they tumble onto the page in such an unselfconscious way, revealing your imaginings!
Thankyou for sharing them with us, no doubt everyone who sees this will have even more admiration for your talent! I now look forward to chasing those links too, thankyou!xx

Unknown said...

Of all your posts RIma, for me this is one of the most revealing and most beguiling. Each page is an intense glimse into your interior world; a flash of intuition rather than a considered fact. I have the impression of an initiate led blindfold to an assignation, granted a single second of sight in which to absorb the vision and then released into a separate room with her sketchbook and pen! If I close my eyes and remember these sketches the ones that jump most readily to mind for me are the accordian player, the hag with the teeth, the horned god apparatus, the horse, a torrent of faces on one page, the girl with the body of a bird or fish, the couple lying awake and listening (was that an idea for The Bear Outside?), the bear curled round the house; the list goes on and on because everything you have shown us has strength and uniqueness.

I remember we once had a conversation about finding people's faces through drawing, that when we jump into the unknown in order to make their acquaintance they come to meet us at the halfway point. I think drawing an image in quick isolation like this and allowing it to stand on it's own without reworking creates a powerful link to that other world; it recalls a dream whose wisdom isn't compromised by the corrupting process of waking up. I'm so glad you allowed us this secret sketchbook viewing xxx

Heather said...

I love your sketchbooks and even the 'scribbles' are good. I struggle with drawing and really should follow your example and try to draw each day.

Aoife.Troxel said...

Thank you for being brave and sharing. I think sometimes it is easy to forget that artists have a process - that not every drawing is right the first time.
These pictures are like a little collection of your thoughts: instead of your posts of eloquent words and beautiful but simple photographs these are eloquent drawings that don't need accompaniment.

Anonymous said...

love your artwork and the stories that go along with them,thank you for sharing :) jademichele

Cendrine said...

Ooh Rima, there is many time that I myself follow your work, many years now, and I feel really grateful, happy and honored to se my name amongst such beauties... Thank you ! x

Velma Bolyard said...

thank you for being brave and opening your sketchbooks. one thing i have a special gift for portraying women who are, shall i say spirited or different or peculiar...they look like women i'd like to knw.

Catherine said...

Have enjoyed visiting your place for a little while now. Find strength in finding people who dance through the lanes of this world, eyes wide open, caring and engaged. To open up your sketch book, can be to expose the underbelly of ourselves. Never an easy thing, but a good thing, a celebration!


ramona said...

These are wonderful! Thank you for sharing Rima!

Helen said...

Thankyou for the precious glimpse into your sketchbooks, Rima. A new reminder to me that daily drawing is so valuable. If only my own scribbles were as magical. (Has every woman artist drawn their lover asleep beside them? I smiled in self-recognition!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the pages from your sketchbooks - it is always fascinating to see how and what a person draws in their own private space.

My own unfinished, different-times-mixed-together sketchbooks used to worry me and I wondered if I should just have one with a clear timeline until I realised that that they are similar to the way our memories work - not in linear time fashion, but jumping from one memory to another triggered by smells, associations, etc.

Again thank you for sharing.

mycuriousteaparty said...

As I sit here quietly, there not a breath of wind tickling this little piece of Cornwall... The lull before the storm, we brace ourselves and hold our our own breath for the winds that are hurrying towards us..

So as I wait what joy it was to see this post.

Many thanks Rima, batten down your hatches and stay safe. ~ Julie.

Unknown said...

What a wonderfull place here.. So much to see.. It is a treashure for me and I am shure to come her often.. Thank you for share so much of your work and and the places that inspire you. I am amazed.