I don't do a lot of sketching although I wish I did. I usually just sit down and spontaneously start to work in clay. Is it a time thing for me or a comfortable pattern? I am not sure, but for me I think grabbing a wad of clay and playing is what I think it must be like for those who regularly sketch.
I wonder if it is more beneficial since I usually stumble onto new ideas, patterns, and even end up with new tools in the form of stamps, or pieces to test glazes. It is this process that is the most rewarding part of working with clay for me. I just love the notion of developing forms and patterns with no intention. Letting the clay say what it wants and lead me on. I am certain this is a worthwhile exercise. However I think it would benefit me to have this same approach to sketching with pencils, or paint on paper. I think today is the day I should take the time and start a new exercise program!
I was at the swap meet Saturday and found a dealer selling bags of shells he had bought as a bundle of things from an estate sale. He knew nothing about them. Some were obviously found shells, beach sand included. These are my favorites to find (aside from me finding them on a beach myself) wondering where they came from and who found them. I emptied the bag and arranged and examined them looking for ones I thought would make good impressions in clay. It was all I needed to get myself going in clay and getting lost for a couple of hours. A few dollars were well spent for the inspiration I got.