Starting With A Blank Page

A brand new sketchbook, much like a notebook, can be a nerve-racking prospect; how to fill those lovely crisp pages with something worthy of its beautiful design? The thing to do is to just jump right in and make that first mark, whether it be with pen, pencil, paintbrush or glue, and see what happens.

To inspire you, we gave five London creatives a brand new personalised Papier sketchbook to see what they do when faced with a blank page.

Matilda Goad, homeware designer & creative consultant
From styling spaces for parties to designing shop window displays and creating her own range of homewares, Matilda brings her unique aesthetic to a range of endeavours. Last November saw the opening of her first pop-up shop in London.

"I'm a real doodler and love having a plain paper book close by to fill with designs that come to mind and interesting pieces I come across. It's usually stuffed a little so I often tie ribbon around it to keep everything in place!"

Lizzy Stewart, illustrator & author
As well as producing many wonderful zines and commissions, Lizzy has written and illustrated two children's books: There's A Tiger In The Garden and Juniper Jupiter, out in March.

"I took a quick break in between client work to do a sketch of the author Zadie Smith. She's been one of my favourites since I read White Teeth as a teenager and I have a picture of her ripped from a magazine interview above my studio desk; mostly to inspire me to make good work but also because it's just such a beautiful photo!"

Alex May Hughes, sign-painter
A talent for gilded lettering along with a love of cartoons (most notably, The Simpsons) has made Alex a sign-writer of individual talent. As well as creating pieces for exhibitions, Alex works on a host of private and commercial commissions.

"I'm usually working on multiple projects and signs at any one time and it can be hard to keep track of the details. I use my sketchbooks as a space to empty out all the information in my head; materials, dimensions, as well as a to-do list for ordering paints or scheduling trips to the post office. It also functions as a scrap book, a space for storing cool bits of type or colour palettes I think would work well together that I've ripped out of magazines or found on packaging."

Laura Bird, ceramicist & illustrator
Laura's humorous and utterly engaging ceramics emphasise her wonderful illustration skills. Inspired by ancient art, particularly Greek, Roman, Mayan and Celtic, as well as African sculpture, Laura's pieces tell a story. You can find her pots and plates at Liberty London.

"I use my sketchbook to plan out new designs for ceramics and to jot down ideas for pattern, glazes, texture and colours I might use. The sketches are usually very rough, quick pencil drawings which I will use as inspiration to build the pots! There will be some days when I'm feeling very inspired to create new things and spend a lot of time drawing during this time, the rest of the time I'm bringing the drawings to life!"

Kayo Chingonyi, poet and lyricist
Widely published in journals and anthologies, Kayo has been invited to read his poetry across the UK and internationally. He's also an emcee, DJ and regularly collaborates with musicians as a lyricist. His first full-length poetry collection Kumukanda was published in June 2017 by Chatto & Windus.

"When I write songs I am driven by the instrumentation. These lyrics are towards a collaboration with three artists which began life as an instrumental I made but never fleshed out. Lately I've found collaboration a brilliant way to finish songs; sometimes all it takes is a smile lighting up someone else's face as the line I wrote or drum pattern I programmed hits them afresh. I love having a book at hand to capture such moments in."

If you're feeling suitably inspired to start cutting, pasting, sketching and painting then peruse our sketchbooks and personalise your own here.

Next article

What To Do When You First Get Engaged With Rock My Wedding