Monday, March 05, 2012

The lovely sketchbook

I do a lot of drawing and am a great advocate for drawing. I know artists who don't draw. Artists who say they can't draw. Well, whatever. (They are wrong, but whatever.) Anyway, being a drawer, I guess I should have stacks of lovely sketchbooks filled with lots of lovely drawings. I do have a pile of sketchbooks, but they are filled with scribbles and failed ideas and half finished ideas and a few good drawings. This is a rare page. Finished drawing and no other scribbles on the page. Ivy in a pot.

I really admire those artists who keep gorgeous sketchbooks. They are works of art in themselves. Jane LaFazio, who is involved with the "Sketchbook Project" seems like the ultimate sketchbooker to me. Her sketchbook pages are beautiful and finished and I'm sure have beautiful covers. I have often thought I should keep better sketchbooks, but I never seem to get there. My sketches are not really for public consumption, but a means toward a different end. Honestly, I am going to share a little secret with you. Most of my drawings and sketches look like this:

This was a scrap of paper found on my desk today. Math below was something about flooring tiles and pixel resolution. Believe it or not, the little sketches were very useful—helped me figure out the viability of an idea I had. My purse is generally littered with little sketches on the backs of receipts or on napkins. The best, most useful are stuck in an accordian file thingie out in the studio. Most are thrown away. Please tell me I'm not the only one who works this way. It seems so messy and un-lovely.

On a different, but related note. My granddaughter also loves to draw. (She will be 5 in a couple of weeks) Last week she drew me an excellent blueberry muffin that I posted on Facebook. Today she gave me this little face that she had drawn and then painstakingly cut out. She said it was "an angry guy."

I'd give a lot to be able to draw a face that expressive. "It's how the eyebrows point down," she explained.


  1. You are not alone! I adore the sketchbooks I have seen online. Jane Lafazio and Melanie Testa both do such beautiful pages. I have sketchbooks with me always and they are a total mess! Here and there I manage a decent drawing but like you I use them mostly to rough out an idea.
    Your granddaughter is amazing! To draw that at age 5!!!!

  2. Anonymous5:14 AM

    Not too surprising at your granddaughter's talent with artistic genes coming from her father and you!!

  3. My sketchbook is actually my pen and paper journal with all those bits of paper and napkins glue stick-ed on to random pages. I have done this for years and years. Looking back thru the journals, I can re-live the moment those few pen scratches were set on paper. And that is all that matters.

    A nice neat, perfect sketchbook is fine for some, not for me.

    I saved a large box of drawings my now middle-aged children made when they were younger than Sophia. I would tape sheets of newsprint to the coffee table and let them draw every day. Later I discovered they had also drawn on the underside of the table.

  4. Totally not the only one. I would be embarrassed to share my sketchbook pages. But they work for me. Help me flush out the good ideas from the not so good and which ones I should pursue.

  5. My sketchbooks are just to try out ideas, but I rarely make something that looks like what's in the sketchbook, they just don't seem to translate well for me.
    Sophia's ability to capture emotion is really amazing.

  6. How incredibly intuitive that child is!!

  7. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Yup...very angry guy. Great job, Sophia!

  8. Oh yes, most of my sketchbook pages look just like your paper - a little thumbnail or two, maybe some measurement numbers. It's just to get the ideas down so I can come back to them later.

  9. My sketchbooks alternate...some are notes and odd jots, quotations, sometimes collages made from magazine pages ripped and torn, sometimes actual skecthes, sometimes with watercolors or watercolor pencils.... and yes, the notes. Those I glue stick in if I don't want to lose them!

    And S's Angry brilliantly observant of her! I know you will nurture that talent and her ability to SEE...good girl!