It’s hard to say when I first began keeping a journal, but it was probably in high school,” recalls Samantha Dion Baker. “I remember spending nights avoiding my homework, writing and doodling in my diary.”
That preoccupation continued during her years at New York City’s prestigious Cooper Union. “In college I had sketchbooks filled with random writings of patterned words alongside small drawings,” she says. “I would photocopy these to use in collage work.”
Though she enjoyed great success as a designer for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Christian Dior, the Frick Collection, and other iconic brands — while raising two children — Dion Baker found herself spending less and less time journaling and sketching.
After years of sitting in front of a computer every day, she found that graphic design began to feel automatic and boring. “It definitely wasn’t relieving my creative itch anymore,” she says.
To fill the void, Dion Baker began pondering new artistic outlets. “One day my husband reminded me that I used to draw more often,” she says. “He told me, ‘Your talent is there, you just have to find it again.’
“I’m a little OCD and really like having a routine, so once I started sketching again, I just couldn’t stop,” she explains. “To keep growing and develop a style, I began challenging myself by asking, Can I draw buildings, an animal, a bicycle, or the tea I’m drinking?”
Sharing her work with others via a popular Instagram account evolved into a book — Draw Your Day: An Inspiring Guide to Keeping a Sketch Journal — for aspiring and seasoned artists alike.
Experience Life | What have been the benefits of having a daily creative practice, and how do you find the time for it?
Samantha Dion Baker | I have two kids and an unpredictable freelance work situation, so drawing has given me a routine. Interestingly, while drawing helped me get into a routine that I really like, other people have told me that their daily drawing practice helps break up the monotony of their day.
Another benefit is that my sketchbook is sort of like my sacred personal space. I can always count on drawing to calm my nerves, and it makes me happy.
Therefore, I don’t even think about it; I just make the time to do it. Sometimes, I’ll even draw while waiting in line at the grocery store.
EL | What if I’m not naturally talented at drawing? What could I get from having a daily drawing practice?
SDB | Well, I think most…