Friday, January 21, 2011

A Sketchbook, or Three

My friends and family often have to stop me from buying more sketchbooks/journals when we are out and about.  Several years ago, I gave my son strict instructions to tell me NO if I have a blank sketchbook in hand at the register.  You see, I have a special affinity for blank books.  They just seem so full of promise, of journey, of future inspiration!  But... I have bought so many through the years, and inevitably fail to fill them.

Sure, I use them, but then I feel like if I start a "new chapter" in my life, that chapter deserves a brand-spankin'-new sketchbook to go with it!  I also tend to categorize different books for different activities.  For example, I've got at least three right now that I work in. 

There's the big, green, purposely coffee-stained one I use more for journaling than anything else. I held it over the kitchen sink and poured coffee through it's beautiful blank, white pages before I ever wrote anything in it, because it just looked too perfect.  And that was intimidating to me.  Here's a look inside:

sometimes I journal in this one, using gesso to "hide" some more private feelings

sometimes I write down my crazy ass dreams and try to illustrate them

I record fleeting feelings I have at times

I doodle, often finding shapes out of the different coffee stains

I make manifestos

I experiment with collage and textures

I take it with me to my favorite coffee shop down the street and sketch while outside on the patio

I try my hand at the whole "Art Journaling" craze that is going on now

Then there's my smaller, thick, grid-lined sketchbook that I like to use for other things:

drawing exercises and practice

fleshing out ideas for larger paintings

finding and cataloguing inspiration from other artists

And then there's my watercolor sketchbook.  This is a smaller book with thick watercolor paper.  I've never learned how to "properly use" watercolors, so it's a fun book to experiment in.  I bought a cool little portable watercolor set that I like to throw in my bag, along with the sketchbook, for when inspiration strikes:

experimenting with the way different colors overlap others

making imaginary landscapes

"sketching" a playground

practicing technique

using it as art therapy to heal after my hip replacement (yes, the last pic is bruising and my staples- gross? yes.  but that's how I roll sometimes)

So I hope you've enjoyed a little trip through some of my sketchbooks!  Though I've resolved to not buy any more until these are full, I doubt that will happen.  I've got a weakness, y'all, and with that new Art Store across the street from me, well, I've got no chance in sticking to my resolve.  Oh well- happy creating!


  1. Holy Crap! You are so damn talented in so many ways - painting, doodling, Sketching!!! Seriously, teach an online art class!!!

    I am totally addicted to notebooks and sketchbooks now too. It was like someone turned the sun on when I found blank ones :) It's like the difference between a fenced in playground, and a field on the edge of a forest.

    Ok, I'm inspired... next time I'm allowed into the art store I'm getting a new biggish sketchbook to wreck and journal in. Journaling has always intimidated me, though your idea of gessoing over things is very comforting. It would also be great to have a place to glue stuff down that I want to keep and don't want wandering along in various piles in the apartment!

  2. CS, you give me the best encouragement, I swear! Thank you so much for your compliments:):):) Gessoing over the words makes me feel safer somehow. I love it!

  3. :D

    What brand/type of books do you use? Btw, I still need too more people for my creativity pay it forward assignment... batting eyelashes

  4. Um, I pretty much buy whatever is on sale or if it really speaks to me, tactilely, I grab it! I couldn't even tell ya' what brand those three are right now;)

    Oh- and I'd LOVE to be part of your PIF assignment! I'll hop over to your blog and check out the details.

  5. Your sketchbooks are amazing! And don't apologize for you're bruisey pictures...before you said what they were I thought they were beautiful, well I still think they're pretty, but feel a little weird about it.... XP

    just found your blog and can't wait to explore it more!

  6. Thanks, Hilary! I think it's awesome you liked the watercolor before you knew what it was;) Maybe I should just keep my big ol' mouth shut! Love your blog too:)