Thursday, 21 February 2013

Why use a sketchbook?

I started to think about why I keep a sketch book after Rebecca Stahr asked the question on her blog

My sketchbook or should I say sketchbooks are an important part of my creativitity, I sketch everyday to keep myself thinking, drawing and painting.  I sketch what I see, I scribble ideas and try out compositions.  I would find it difficult to paint or come up with ideas and inspiration without them.
Many use their sketchbooks as journals to record daily life or a journey, making notes as well as drawing.

I have many sketchbooks, cheap ones for rough ideas and five minute sketches, and more luxurious moleskines in different sizes, watercolour and smooth drawing paper.
Sketchbooks are important for eye/ hand co ordination and you also learn how to get something down on paper fast!

Five minute sketch from 2 weeks ago, but  I can still feel the sun on my back,  hear  the sound of the  boats moving and distant church bells clanging.

When you sketch you really look at your subject and understand it's shape and see how the light falls in a way a photograph could never do.  While you are sketching you absorb the sounds, smells and atmosphere,  you then only have to look at your sketch  to be back in the moment.
In my sketchbook I can experiment with new materials or ideas.  There is no pressure to make a 'finished' painting, the outcome is not important and if inspiration is ever lacking you only need to flick through your sketchbooks to find a wealth of ideas.

With a little sketchbook and pen in my bag I'm never bored, long waits in airports, hospitals etc become opportunities to capture something new! 


Alex said...

wonderful post :) Sketchbook is almost like a photo album to me, only better IMO
Love those drawings too by the way

Cathy Holtom said...

Thanks Alex!

Vandy said...

Great post. I tend to go through phases where I use my notebook a lot, and then life overtakes me and I just don't seem to be able to find even 10 minutes to do a sketch.

Your post has given me a kick and reminded me to just do it! Thanks Cathy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention Cathy! I'm glad I could inspire you. Your post is great and I am glad to see I am not the only person who is what I call a sketchbookaholic (I'm a sucker for a good sketchbook and have them in all different shapes and sizes too).

Koosje Koene said...

I couldn't agree more. I love all my sketchbooks, they contain so much inspiration and memories. Isn't it great to open one of your sketchbooks and then knowing the exact moment again? Hearing the sounds, perhaps even smell the smells again, of that moment you captured in there. So much better than a photo!
Great for experimenting too. No pressure, it's all about the process!

Laura Moore said...

Really enjoyed this post Cathy. I value my sketchbooks as an integral part of my development with watercolour but also they are somewhere to capture memories.

Polly Birchall said...

I keep sketchbooks mostly for travelling near and far. For that tiny or quick sketch brings back memories far more than a photograph. I can remember the noise, the people around, the smells etc. Sometimes if I pop somewhere and there is something going on I will search out a shop and buy yet another! Oh, yes I have quite a selection! I also love looking at famous artists sketchbooks as they are so personal, ones I especially I love are Turners books at the Tate Britain in London. I do love your lovely little sketches and inspire to use more colour instead of just water soluble pens.

Sue Brown said...

Nice post - Rebecca's idea set me thinking too. I think they are a great source of inspiration to look back on too.

Barbara Roth said...

Your work inspires me to use my sketchbook more regularly.

vivien said...

Lovely sketches

I keep sketchbooks for all the reasons given - they do bring back the day, sounds, smells, feel of the sun or wind and the intensity of looking fixes all that in your memory.

There is no pressure in a sketchbook. All is experiment, trying whatever is necessary to catch what interested you. It's such a resource of ideas for years to come, even quick scrappy scribbles.

I always have a lot of sketchbooks on the go, some for anything goes and others for specific projects, so that work is more easily found in the future. Also a variety of papers and sizes and shapes.

I have learned over the years that I do NOT like cheap paper, so nowadays I only use decent paper, but I don't treat it as 'best' in any way, it's just paper. Good paper handles anything I want to throw at it without buckling or disintegrating. Any desperate failures that need hiding can be worked over in an opaque medium or collage!

Cathy Holtom said...

Yes I cover my desperate failures with another sketch, entry ticket, a leaf anything will do!
Thanks for the comments, lovely to read your thoughts too.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

I agree...sketchbooks = freedom :)
I love your five minute boats!

Stew Crowther said...

Hello Cathy,
I love sketchbooks but I find it hard not to get really precious about them. I really do need to loosen up and stop worrying about the outcome. One thing I have found is that although I love a good quality sketchbook, cheap ones bring out the best in me. I am not as worried about making every page count.
Stew. _________________________

debra morris said...

Wonderful Cathy, you've inspired me to sketch with paint rather than graphite!

Sue Pownall said...

Great post.


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