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Tiny Sketchbooks

Lara Girgis

Over the last 2 years my artistic practise has included a growing collection of small-scale drawings. My “Tiny Sketchbooks” are usually smaller than A6 and fit nicely in my pocket or handbag. Their interiors are filled to bursting with fine liner sketches, life drawings, comics, notable quotes, storyboards and the occasional poetry. By filling each sketchbook with everything from initial sketches and thumbnails, to fully resolved works, I’ve learned a crucial lesson about creativity:

“If you create something, it doesn’t matter whether it turns out good or bad. The fact that you’ve taken the time to make art means you’ve succeeded.” 

By purposefully relinquishing my grasp on the pressure to succeed, I’ve found that though I’ve become less precious about how my work turns out, the works themselves have become more precious to me.  

The initial intent of the works was not to create any sort of coherent story – the sketchbooks are full of disconnected imagery, mediums and ideas. But as they multiply, a cohesive autobiographical theme emerges. As well as showing the ebb and flow of my interests and experiences, the books show the development of my drawing style, as it whirls and shifts and begins to settle. 

Pictured here is a selection of resolved works from Tiny Sketchbooks #2-#6, covering February 4th, 2021 to July 17th, 2022. Mushrooms found on mossy walking paths in East Gippsland; small creatures captured in moments of action and stillness; imagined scenes and thoughts that settle just long enough to be pinned down onto paper.


Most common, are fine liner drawings. The crisp black outlines and sharp edges contrast the delicacy of subject matter and the poignancy of included text. Though less frequently used, coloured pencils convey the vibrancy of summer time and are closest to the boundless sketching and thumbnailing that sits side by side with these works.  

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