Sketchbook?


  • SVS OG

    Do you keep one (or more)? If you like to work digitally, do you keep a paper sketchbook? Or do you keep digital sketches in a folder on your computer?

    I have great intentions to keep a paper sketchbook. But it never really happens. I used to keep one, sporadically. I enjoy going back and flipping through them. But I can’t seem to get back into it, especially since I’m working in developing a digital process.



  • I try to keep at least one in my purse, one on my night stand, and one on my desk. This way if I get an idea I can scribble it down and doodle. And they are all pretty small. Under 8 inches. Generally like 5 inches..

    It is very tough to sit and sketch sometimes but if you think of them as "idea books" rather than sketchbooks perhaps that would help?


  • SVS OG

    @EliaMurrayArt that’s a good idea. Might help take the pressure off.



  • I have a ton of sketchbooks. The decent quality ones are for plein air painting. The rest are cheap crappy sketchbooks for any kind of scribbles, studies, and ideas. They are definitely not social-media friendly-type sketchbooks with beautiful art. I also can't keep my kid's grubby little hands off of them, so they have become communal and I get to see goodies like my 8 year old's attempt at figure drawing a naked lady lounging. I do try to keep one main sketchbook specifically for illustration planning. For digital sketches I just name them by month and year. Example: April 2020 Sketches 3. Then save them in my general art folder. I have one art folder per year.


  • SVS OG

    @TessaW wow, I’m impressed! I have a some small ones with nothing but good intentions in them... Do you work digitally for your finished pieces?



  • Whoops, I think I made it sound like I'm super productive and on top of things when it comes to sketchbooks, but actually that's not the case. I think at this point in my life it helps to keep it as relaxed as possible, with no pressure to make them look impressive, consistent in theme, or chronological, and no pressure to constantly draw in them. I keep them around for ideas and for studies. The reason I have a lot of them is because my kids were constantly stealing them and drawing in them and stashing them somewhere, and I just chose to lose that battle. Now I will pick up any random one that's laying around and might do a few studies or sketches in them when the mood strikes. Sometimes I won't pick one up for weeks. Probably not the best system at all, but it's what I'm doing for now.

    I do work digitally for my finished pieces. I use a physical sketchbook to brainstorm through words, or take down some quick thumbnails. Sometimes I will work out poses for characters in them. Sometimes I'll take a picture of a thumbnail and use it as a base sketch for a digital piece. Most of the drawing process actually takes place digitally for digital illustrations.

    What's your ideal way to work with sketchbooks? If you want to get in the habit of sketching physically again, maybe you can give yourself some sort of project or challenge that utilizes sketches as part of the process.



  • @Kat Even since I got my graphics tablet I still like having sketchbooks lying around, only a couple though, about a hundred pages each, and I still haven't filled either one in the two years i've had 'em. When i'm just lazy and demotivated, I will just have it by the sofa so even though i'm slobbing about I can just draw some daft cartoons or something. Originally I had one which was for decent stuff and one for practice, but now they're both full of all sorts of rubbish. Ones got about three pages of just circles in it, which I was supposed to then go over and draw loads of heads looking in different directions, but never did! That sort of thing. I might even do it one day. Not sure how useful that is though. For me that's what a sketchbook should be though, I think Lee White said it once, and its already been mentioned in this thread, It should be called an ideas book. It should be like the Gym, its where you do your training.
    Ultimately though, so what? There's something romantic about it but as long as you're doing something, I'm not sure it really matters what the medium is.


  • SVS OG

    @TessaW apparently I don't have an ideal way to work with them, as I'm terrible about keeping them at all!

    I think like you said, @gavpartridge, there's something romantic about the idea of using them. It's so impressive to see lovely sketchbooks posted online, but I need to remember that people don't post their awful doodles or pages of circles with unfinished faces LOL!

    Lately I've been doing these kinds of scribbles on my ipad, then deleting because why keep the junk. But maybe I'll pick up those empty sketchbooks I've got laying around and go ahead and trash them (with goofy ideas and bad sketches.) 🙂 I do enjoy the feel of pencil or pen on paper.



  • @Kat My thoughts exactly, I got so fed up of seeing people flip through moleskin 'sketchbooks' on youtube that contain nothing but finished works of art. I originally wanted to document my whole process of trying to learn art, and post each and every drawing in a gallery and write a blog about it, as even the most open and approachable artists are so reluctant to show their bad work. I really want to dispel the myth that art is a talent, I wanted to show all the crap drawings you have to make, and how for most people its a process of making minuscule incremental changes. But it turns out that's a massive amount of work, and I have so little time (usually, pre lockdown) that it just wasn't feasible. Probably the same reason everyone else doesn't do it! When i'm rich and famous, ill scrape it all together and post it then!


  • SVS OG

    @gavpartridge totally agree. Those don't seem like real sketchbooks to me either, and often they're waaay better than even my "finished" work! Maybe we need a thread - "Real sketches from my sketchbook - or "What The Heck is That Supposed to Be?!"



  • @Kat Definitely. I genuinely think as artists we are our own worst enemies, constantly trying to con the world into thinking we are amazing and always have been. I would love to see professionals post their rubbish sketches, that way you know what can be achieved through hard graft and dedication!


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