This post is about the importance of keeping and using a sketchbook.
I carry one with me almost everywhere I go.
I don't always get a chance to use it, but I take it in case I end sitting around doing nothing.
It can be any kind of sketchbook you like from the really cheap ones for kids, Crayola makes some nice little sketch pads for kids that I have used to do client concept drawings in, to an expensive moleskin, I've never bought or used one, but people rave about them.
I think the best ones are either the spiral bound or the hard bound with nice white pages.
A lot of artist have said that you should get the wire bound kind so that you can flip the cover and any previously drawn on pages around to the back and have a nice flat surface to draw on.
I tried one and I personally don't like the wire bound because the wire part always gets in my way, and I used to draw on facing pages so I smeared the sketches on the page that got flipped to the back.
I only draw on one side of a page most of the time now and not on facing pages anymore.
I have come to prefer the hard bound sketchbook. It can be hard to draw into the gutter sometimes but it takes a lot of abuse and holds up longer.
I try to buy the cheapest thinnest one I can find. After all you're not supposed to be creating masterpieces in it. It's a depository for the junk in your head, write down the title of that cool book you want to remember to look up on line, a web site you saw in a magazine, an idea that you won't remember if you don't write it down, and lots of sketching.
Your sketchbook is you. Put things in it that are important to you.
My sketchbook usually starts from the back because I am left handed. I like to rest my hand on the page when I draw so I like to draw on the right hand page and rest my hand on the left hand page. That way I am not rubbing my hand all over my sketches as I go from page to page.
The reasons for keeping a sketchbook are simple.
A. Drawing in one all of the time improves your skills.
After you have filled a few sketchbooks you can look back through them and see progress.
It's a good moral booster on those "I suck" days.
B. Even a really quick little sketch on a page that looks like nothing can become the starting point for
your next great piece of art. If you are still reading you'll see soon see why I started this post.
C. A sketchbook is a great thing to take to a first meeting with a potential new client.
I have had art directors spend more time looking at my sketchbook during an interview than at my
portfolio of finished works. I have actually seen one or two art directors drool over it.
One looked through my sketchbook and asked if I had any more. Luckily for me I decided to bring
two that day. I don't know why. I was given a "try out" project because of those sketchbooks.
A different art director for a greeting card company saw some halloween characrters in my
sketchbook and asked me to do final art with them for cards. Those quick, fun sketches that were
done for my entertainment ended up as paid work that I wouldn't have gotten if she hadn't seen
D. You can eventually sell pages from your sketchbook and make some extra cash.
Make sure you scan them before you sell them so that you still have the sketches to look at when
you are looking for inspiration.
This is a page from one of my sketchbooks from last year.
As you can see I used the top part of the page to do a quick sketch of a Circus Train and then the bottom half to do a tighter version. Like I said, that was last year.
Yesterday I revisited this page and used it as inspiration to draw/paint this...
He turned out nice so I think I'll use him as inspiration to do a set of paintings.
My sketchbooks are full of drawings. Some good, some bad. That's just the way it goes.
So go out get a sketchbook and start drawing in it. If you don't like the kind you bought, buy a different kind next time draw in it. Keep doing it until you find a kind you like and buy them when they are on sale so you have a new one when the old one gets filled up.
The important thing is that you keep drawing!