Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, the sketchbook…

Ok. SKETCHBOOK. I dreaded the word for years. I could never understand the purpose of the sketchbook. Sketches for assignments made sense, but sketchbook…
Many times, I started sketchbooks and abandoned them after just a few pages because I didn’t know what to draw and, frankly, I don’t like drawing with a pencil on a white paper.

Then I came to the Academy. Students were sketching constantly, at the demos, lectures, studios, outside, inside, even in a bar or at the beach. I saw the most beautiful sketchbooks of our instructors and students. NONE of them were pencil drawings on white paper. People were so creative with the materials they used, the way they drew or painted, what and why they sketched what they sketched. And for the first time I was completely convinced that keeping a sketchbook does matter for all sorts of reasons: to keep improving your skills, put your ideas on paper, experiment with the media, find your personal voice, find out what you like and don’t like to draw. One book that I found very useful and inspirational in this whole sketchbook business is “An Illustrated Life” by Danny Gregory. The tipping point for me was the fact that you can PAINT in you sketchbook, you can experiment with COLOR, and you can even cover up a sketch with paint if you really don’t like it. That changed everything.

After I came back from the Academy my husband and I were in the process of moving to a new place and my life revolved around packing and unpacking for a while. I didn’t have a proper studio, so I decided to spend some time just drawing and painting anything that I came across and that interested me. For weeks I did nothing but drew in my sketchbook with no particular goal or assignment in mind. What a change!

My sketchbook images are all over the place. I haven’t figured out yet what should be in a sketchbook, how finished it should look, how realistic/unrealistic/doodly stuff should be. I’ll get there, though!

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