Tuesday, February 27, 2007

sketchbook ... the basics

i keep a couple of different types of sketchbooks at a time...the workhorse is my basic stuffeverythingintooneplace book. and for that the key, especially when you're just starting out is keep it simple:
make it EASY to use..
don't leave home without it
the book and a good mechanical pencil are the basic tools

i've just started using moleskins and love them. the paper is so much nicer, they have a nifty pocket for storing odd bits, they're a bit smaller (easier to fit in my purse), they have a wonderful elastic band that holds them closed as well as a ribbon to mark places, they're just a little bit more expensive than the standard ring bound books, and i can find them locally(booksamillion). they're available online too.

when i started out, i made covers for them, or collaged the covers... nice idea, and i still do it when the notion strikes, but i pretty much quit doing that as i would rather put the time and effort into the actual piece rather than have it just be a decorative cover. i put the year and journal number on the cover (bout halfway thru 2007 #1).

i use these books for brainstorming essentially. because i pretty much put all of my thoughts, ideas and inspirations into each book they are a chronological record for me. and because i (almost) never lose them, they are also the repository for the odd bits of info. phone numbers, record of orders placed etc, notes that i don't want to lose. (which i usually put in the back just to make it easier to find...)

everything that influences me goes in them:
images of all kinds that speak to me for whatever reason very rough sketches - ideas for materials, colors, etc
notes taken while reading particularly good books dreams, quotes, words or phrases that intrigue or inspire me
doodles doodles doodles, no matter where i am or what else i am doing!

when i was in school i was required to complete a journal a semester in each of my sculpture classes. (3 sculpture classes in one semester = 3 completed journals.) tho i was already keeping a journal, it was great discipline.

because of the way i do them, as individual books, they are somewhat disjointed. but as a series of books what happens is i start to see trends in colors, shapes, forms, thoughts that appear with frequency.. and these are for the most part the little nuggets i mine when i'm stuck and looking for ideas for future work.

what i don't do with these journals is make them precious. i don't want to feel too intimidated to use them. i love the illustrated artist journals but for my working sketchbook, i have to keep it simple.
i will doodle, and as you can see, will play with color, but only in the spirit of trying out ideas, etc. not of creating a finished work in and of itself.

when i want to add color i typically use watercolor crayons in them. this set has the water brush included... it's one of my favorite ways to play. you can also come back later to sketches you've already drawn and add color to them after the fact.
more later.

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