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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thoughts on Keeping an Artist's Sketchbook

Do I keep a sketch book? Yes, but I’ll bet it’s not what you expect. There are as many lists and words as sketches. I use my journal for everything from notes on book and article ideas to sketches of people, places and things. Sometimes, I go for days without an entry and then other times several pages are gone in one day.

I’m hesitant to share the sketches because people seem to expect a work of art and act a bit let down when the sketches aren’t as finished or polished as they expected. Some pages are more colorful and attractive than others and that usually depends on how much time I was able to spend. The fast and messy pages are more valuable to me because the ideas they contain were important. The sketch posted here was made very quickly while waiting at a parking lot because I liked the way the breeze was swishing the fronds and how the sun glinted off them.
To me, painting, drawing and sketching are different skills and may be accomplished in different styles. Some artists are more consistent, but I’m not one of them. My sketch style is abbreviated and messy while my drawings are much more precise and detailed. In comparison, my painting style is closer to my sketching style but doesn’t resemble it much because of the difference in mediums.

I really like to see other artist’s sketches. It’s like getting a peek at the thought process behind the scenes. Karen Winters, a truly accomplished landscape painter, posed a thoughtful question on her blog about drawing, sketching and sharing that process. I’d love to hear what you think.


Sandi said...

Well I really appreciated your thinking on this to begin with. It got me thinking. I think it was Robert Bateman that I first heard say that a sketch is not supposed to be a finished or extensively worked piece. So I appreciated your further reflections on what your sketchbook is intended to achieve. For myself I think that your sketch captures the essence of what you saw according to your description beautifully. I applaud your courage for putting it out there despite your reservations. It has inspired me to travel this path. Thanks!


Stephanie said...

I'm with you in that I like getting to take a peek into other's sketch books. I love the idea of seeing just a quick snapshot of someone elses's process and definatly their own take on how to draw something.

My own sketches tend to be worked a bit more than a quick sketch. I need to loosen up and just give myself permission to play a bit more in my books. It's one of the reasons I have been doing the Every Day Matters challenges --all in pen to keep from over working my sketches. It is sorta working for me...

keep sharing and keep on sketching and drawing and painting!! Love your Birds-- your Cardinal series is super!

Starr said...

Prior to me joining the EDM group I never sketched and never showed anything to anyone unless I thought it was superb. Now that I am keeping an illustrated journal I am constantly sketching & posting. And for once in my life I'm not worried about my art being perfect and finally started making art. It's amazing the amount of time I wasted being a perfectionist. I love your blog and cardinal paintings as well as your sketch. I am going to keep dropping by so keep posting those sketches.