The concept of a sketchbook is, for me, a treasured space where thoughts and ideas can be tried out without any form of pressure or expectation

Collectively, sketchbooks accumulate humble tools to help build confidence: a positive and unmeasured development.

My sketchbook drawings have most often been created from memory whilst on the move. Many pages were sketched at airports, on planes, on the tube, on holiday on a beach, on the sofa. Anywhere really, away from studio work.

With my drawing hand often hidden from the view of others  and sparking off conversations, drawing in a private sketchbook within a public place is funny. Sometimes there is the urge to make portraits of still life objects, or people, which I often carry out. Repetition is key to creating a personal, perhaps recognisable, handwriting.

Apart from finishing the drawing or sketchbook itself, the sense of being able to draw brings me satis­faction and delight. It’s exciting to start a brand new book and I date the first and last pages of all my sketchbooks, perhaps so at some stage I can recognise a transform­ation.

I don’t look through them after I have finished them: I suppose some­how they are like diaries, there might be unpleasant surprises and I could get an urge to tear them up, or perhaps not.

These drawings are extracted from my sketchbooks, drawn with felt-tip pens, Biro or pen and ink. This is the first time any pages from my sketchbooks have been published.

Petra Börner


Petra Börner is a Swedish artist based in London. Her work has been featured on book jackets, packaging, in magazines and on numerous fashion and interior design projects. Currently she is making a series of embroidered wall hangings with designer Daniel Reynolds and will be showing work in The Joyful Bewilderment exhibition at Rough Trade East in London (curated by Marcus Oakley and Simon Peplow) from October 2. She also continues to make limited edition screenprints.

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