Planting Ideas In Fertile Soil-Thoughts on Sketchbooks
"Paintings are like plants that grow from little seeds. Plant enough of these seeds in your sketchbook and some of them will surely blossom."
- Dan McCaw from "A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art"
Thought I'd share some thoughts on sketchbooks. A fellow artist whose work is such crazy-imaginative-on-all levels-fun recently posted one of her daily paintings on her blog, along with some thoughts on sketchbooks. Which I LOVE- it's like a private conversation with the artist, or maybe 'eaves-dropping' into this conversation! Brenda York really got me thinking about this, "It definitely feels a little like your slip is showing, however..." she says!
So - thanks Brenda, I think maybe a 'tag-team-blog-sharing' of sketchbooks might be a fun thing! On a recent week in mid-September I had the chance to go down to Washington, DC with my husband, who had business down there. We took the train, so I wanted to pack light, and didn't want to lug a lot of paint gear, but of course, I took one favorite sketchbook. Had a chance to sit & sketch one of my daughters (which I'm sure bores the daylights out of her, but she tolerates her mom's peculiarities really well). We got to laughing because her hand under her chin starting going numb and she began moving it...at which point it seemed like it was all over her face! hahah. It's a small sketch in a little 5x7? book, but it's amazing how strong the memory of that moment is - when you take the time to sketch it out.
From my other sketch-books you can see how I work out some compositional ideas, whether a design will fit a certain format, or how will the values make this a stronger piece? Sometimes, it's just some 'glorified doodling', which is quite fun on it's own...sketch and hopefully the brain will follow! Depending on what I'm after, my favorite tools are sharpie markers or ball-point pens. I like to use books with heavier or even watercolor paper- to keep the marker from bleeding through- or if I want to add a bit of color later, with watercolor or colored pencil or marker. And as one of my favorite living artists, Dan McCaw says in his book, "A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art", "I can record my random ideas, free-flowing thoughts, subjects or ideas that intrinsically move me. It's like daydreaming with a pen or in little watercolor roughs. I even like to put notes in my sketchbooks. They become a little bit of a diary to look back on. I often refer to my sketchbooks and find ideas I had forgotten about."
McCaw's book has been one of my favorite resources over the years. It never ceases to encourage and inspire me.
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