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Monday, October 6, 2008

More Thoughts on Keeping a Sketchbook

In an earlier post, were musings on my sketch book and what it means to me. Over lunch with a friend, I pulled the book out to jot down a quick idea – words only mind you – and realized that I never go back to the book to retrieve those ideas. So why bother?

Of course, the next thing to do was go back through the book and see just what it was that was so important. I found that the notes of ideas, lists or even basic outlines, are still valuable and could be developed into posts, articles or even books. However, it’s obvious that remembering to go back and look for them when the time comes will be a problem.

The pages that have sketches only or sketches and notes were much more interesting and memorable. They were so much more enjoyable to look at and the memories of those ideas were much clearer. Many of those pages were solely for my own amusement and pleasure or to document something encountered along the way. Like the one above.

My sketch book is a repository of ideas and images but not necessarily a specific reference. That doesn’t bother me because I enjoy the act and process of keeping the book. The one thing this exercise has made me aware of is the benefit of indexing to be able to find those ideas later when I want to use them. Any thoughts on using your sketch books and retrieving the information later?


freebird said...

Like you, I tend to write down (and perhaps leave a super quick sketch) of ideas and then not go back. Usually so many ideas come that when I need one I have an idea handy. But, there always comes that time when no idea forms and those are the occasions I go back to my project sketch book. Since I do mostly craft type projects it's easier to keep all those ideas in one book but it's not a rule that gets followed all the time and those ideas are the ones that end up pretty much lost. Who knows though, maybe when my grandkids leaf through my books they'll say "hmmm, maybe I'll try that idea". At least I can hope!

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

I guess I keep an Illustrated Journal, I don't really use it as a repository of ideas per se... mine's more a like the Diary of a Mad housewife... I mostly try to think of my audience these days, either the people that read my blog, or the grand-children or great-grand-children that will get a glimpse into my soul in the pages of these books.

Nancy said...

I use mine like Capt Elaine (of which I read her blog as well). But, I also have a regular sketchbook that I play around with ideas for paintings. My illustrated journal tells me about my life. Sometimes I don't have enough time to complete the picture (most often) or write the words...but I will go back and finish the sketch and/or the words. Like the time when my little grandson was born. I wrote my feelings, the events of the day, but left a page or two to do sketches or drawings of the little one, based on photos of him.

I love using both types of sketchbooks, and wish I could do more. Thank you for asking!

Starr said...

What a wonderful post. I keep a sketchbook and a notebook. Nothing fancy. Some days I think, if I made art as much as I jotted down ideas and wrote, I'd have masterpieces by now:-)! But I do contituously go through my notes and it's nice to have those thoughts to look back on.

Monette Satterfield said...

Wow! Thank you all for sharing such thoughtful comments on your sketchbooks and journals.
I'll have to admit that as soon as I said I don't go back to mine for the ideas- I did just that yesterday! Now I'll have to make another sketchbook post :)

Lynn said...

Interesting post and discussion. I use my journal for everything from "to do" lists to sketching ideas, great quotations to actual sketches. Everything goes in the journal and it becomes a record of my life. I've become addicted to keeping a journal - it bolsters my faulty memory!

June said...

I use my books to record all sorts of things. I am just starting to add sketches to this mix. I am pretty sure my children won't even look at the books. I begin each new book by numbering the odd pages (1,3,5, etc.) that are on one side of the book. Use a fine-line pen for inconspicuosness. Before beginning the numbers, I leave a blank flyleaf, a title page (illustrate and/or letter this later, after the main thrust of the book becomes clear)and two pages for a table of contents. I write TABLE OF CONTENTS on the top of the first of the two pages (I may not need the second one, but it is nice to have.) I reserve about four leaves in the back for TO DO lists: words, music, art, books or web sites to look up, reminders to self, postcards or information to send that people ask me for, addresses and contact info, etc. As you work in the body of the book, or after every few pages, put the information into the table of contents with the page number on the right side of the page. You may have many pages about a conference or just one or two for each subject. This isn't difficult if you do it as you go along, and have numbered the pages--numbering them later, doesn't work for me. I have tried indexing the whole book, but it takes too long to do ( I usually quit)and is liable to nitpicking. If you T of C as you go along it is almost painless. Then if you want you can use the title page, recto or verso and list the Greatest Hits of that volume. I use different types of blank book, but can usually find what I need by picking up just one or two volumes. June

Karin said...

My friend and I carry "over-40" notebooks in our purses because we can't remember anything for more than 2 minutes. I always get ideas in stores -- things I see that are clever that I want to try to make a different way or in a different color -- so I make little drawings and take notes. I made notes for my book, Altered You!, in the same book, but just like you, I never actually went back and referenced the notes! After the book was written, I had fun looking at my notes and seeing that most of them had traveled into the book on their own. The one that didn't? Could be volume 2!