Wednesday, February 28, 2007

more thoughts on keeping sketchbooks/journals

one factor in how you will keep your sketchbooks is your working style...
and the actual process of journaling can help you discover your working style if you're not already aware of it.

someone who works best with a distinct plan will create small mock ups of intended work. if that is your dominant working style you will most likely create detailed sketches, include swatches of fabric you intend to use and samples of textures you want to incorporate. you will be the person who will create sample swatches of various stitches, and make color boards of the various hues you will incorporate. you may work out ahead of time what size your finished work will be, and create patterns or templates.

on the other hand, if your creative style leans more toward the intuitive style, you will likely use your journal to "prime the pump". rather than recording detailed plans you will lean more towards doodling and compiling the inherent shapes, forms, and colors that interest you.

keeping my journals has revealed to me the types of images that are important and that fuel my creative drive. these are the shapes/subjects i clipped from magazines, photographed consistently thru the years, and incessantly doodled: tall, thin vertical forms, whether they be trees, the obelisk across the river from my home, cathedral spires, standing stones, fences, long thin spikes of grasses that dance in the breeze......

thru the years i have learned that i am pretty much 70 /30 spontaneous vs planned. i like to have a notion of the shapes and colors i want to work with, but prefer to work out the details as i go, in the actual medium itself, rather than pre-plan. for me, if i already know how a piece will look down to the last detail, there's no longer a point or an interest in creating it. it's the process of discovery along the way that fuels me. my journals will look and function differently than someone who likes to work with a set plan. neither way is better. there is no right or wrong. you do what works for you.

keeping sketchbooks is a great tool to help you discover what your working style is. it's the old what came first the chicken or the egg rout
ine. working in a sketchbook will help you to define your working style, which in turn will determine how you do your books, which in turn will influence your work, etc etc. we learn by doing. if i had to have one solid *rule* for keeping a sketchbook it would be to use them consistently. spend some time every day with it. developing the habit to sit with the process for 20 minutes a day whether you feel like you want to or not is one of the keys to generating ideas and new work.

the more work you create, whether in a journal or with the actual materials, the higher your chances are that you will create good work. take one idea and doodle it or work it 30 different ways. push it past what you think is reasonable. brainstorm. play. go to what feels like ridiculous lengths. quite often it will be that 29th idea that will be the greatest.

a couple of really good books along these lines are art and fear and drawing on the artist within.
imho, both should be standard items in every artist's toolbox, regardless of medium...

and now, it's back to work for me!
next installation: the evolution of my personal imagery....views from sketchbooks thru the years..

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Anonymous Gerrie said...

I love your sketches and I wish I was disciplined enough to do sketches in a sketch book. I do them on whatever I have handy because I never have a book with me!! LOL!

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journaling process. I buy the notebooks, and then pet them, name them, do everything but use them for how they were intended! You have inspired me to take them down out of the "notebook idol shelf" and use them. Thank you! Your art work is amazing and moving.

9:18 PM  
Blogger cfent said...

thats wonderful! music to my ears..

10:15 PM  
Blogger Lesley Riley said...

You should ask Pokey about being in the new CPS artist's sketchbook article. Love your insight.

6:32 PM  

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