For Robin Hendrix, her sketchbooks are living objects. Stains are allowed (preferably by using as many materials as possible), and perfectionism is out of the question (even though it is not always easy to refrain from it). In her studio, the sketchbooks pile up month by month, almost like little works on their own.
Do you have a favourite material to draw with?
Robin: "I like to hop from one material to another. For example, I like to transfer a drawing to a tuft frame, or to work on different things at the same time. Right now, carbon paper is one of my favourites. If I feel I'm being too strict on my end result, I like to include that material. Because I can't see what I'm drawing, I draw much more freely. And because your hand rubs along on the paper as you draw, it leaves certain textures that create a fine effect."
Do you often flip through your old sketchbooks?
Robin: "That happens in stages. If I haven't drawn for a long time, or if I don't know what to do, I sometimes dare to grab some older ones. Then I often stumble upon interesting shapes with which I want to try something out again. I have never thrown away a sketchbook. For example, in my studio you will find a box full of sketchbooks, going way back in time. Over the years, my sketchbooks have become diaries. Not that there is consciously a story attached to each one, but when I look back at them, many memories come up. They are a documentation place."
What do you do when you have no inspiration for a while?
Robin: "Finding inspiration really goes in phases for me. For example, I haven't drawn for the past six months. Often I start copying something, and I consider that as an exercise in observational drawing. We had to do this a lot during my studies, and it always helped me along the way. Often I'll go to the park, or at cafes to watch people and draw what's there at that moment. And when I go out, I always drag just a little too much material with me. But by now I've switched to smaller sketchbooks that fit in my pocket. That's more fun to draw people unnoticed on public transportation. It seems very healthy to make a lot, because not every drawing you make has to be a finished product."
Do you have a fear of the blank page?
Robin: "I don't like starting from a blank page very much. That feels very intimidating. I find it safer to start with a color or a smudge. That doesn't feel so permanent. That's also why I like to flip back in my sketchbooks, to continue working on an already existing smudge or drawing and apply new layers to it. I did start labeling my sketchbooks by time periods over the years. As a result, I forced myself to put my sketchbook on my bookshelf so that I could not touch it for a while. Otherwise, I would keep putting layer upon layer. As a result, they have become a kind of time capsules."