I just read this fabulous blog post by artist Stephanie Law on the need to draw without an audience, i.e. drawing practice in a sketchbook that is for your eyes only.
“When you’re in the moment, Artmaking can’t be about the audience, or else it becomes too self-aware. In so doing loses the truth of the creator’s voice.” Stephanie Law
A technique I’ve been using in my sketchbook for some time now is to make a random pencil scribble with a loose hand, then “find” the creature within by enhancing some lines and erasing others. It comes totally from the subconscious; I never know who or what will peek out from the scribbled mass. Sometimes my subconscious brings forth cuteness and makes its way into a painting; sometimes it gives me nothing. And when it gives me nothing, I know the well is dry and it is time to refresh it with new inputs and experiences. Or take a nap.