sketchbooks...



Janet - I am so glad that you brought up the topic of sketchbooks, as I've been thinking that I'd love to see other folks' sketchbooks and find out how others feel about various and sundry sketching. I've been keeping a sketch journal off and on for a long time; years - but only this past year have I actually taken to putting something in it every day. And much to my surprise, that everyday-business has been both exciting and liberating. Who'd a thunk it? I've kind of felt that to sketch every day, when I go days on end, drawing all day long, would be the last thing I'd want to do. But when I started doing it, I set myself no rules, and I think that has been the liberating thing. I'm accountable to NO ONE. I do as I please. My only mandate to myself, if I had to articulate it, has be to notice something remarkable every day. And as far as documenting it in my book - well, I can do it in words, I can do it in sketches, I can do whatever I want. And it's more than easy to find remarkable things in life.
The liberating thing I'm finding is that I try stuff. I fiddle around. I have conversations with myself. And, as I've known for ages, my sketchbooks help me remember. I can go right back there and taste and smell and hear all over again. It's actually very exciting. I love my sketchbooks.
I've done some work to integrate the idea of sketching into my other work; one of my picturebooks has a sketchbook basis to it. I've done some school visits with helping kids and teachers understand how "taking notes" (be they written or drawn) can help you understand and learn about the world around you. It's just really fun.
I've found some favorite materials that I keep coming back to, even tho I try others. I love to use toned paper; I've got several pre-made books that have brown paper, and I love it not the least for the fact that when I'm sketching outside, it's easy on the eyes. Also love what it does when you add color. I really like sketching in pencil, but I don't like how it smears. (Tho I've learned that a light wash of just plain water over a pencil sketch will pretty much "fix" it). I basically draw with a fine-tipped ballpoint pen, and I have gotten really hooked on that. I like using colored pencils because of their ease and portability (I take my stuff with me hiking, canoeing, etc), but have recently found out about making a tiny watercolor set in an Altoids tin, and have one of those wonderful Niji waterbrushes. Those are cool, and so portable. And as such, I've also started using watercolor pencils more, and learned some neat things to do with them. It's just been a heck of a lot of fun, and even after working long, long hours on picturebook art, I find that spending a little time with my sketchbook just recharges my batteries.
These are just a couple of pages from my present book. I have a bunch of pages scanned, because my husband just returned from being in Israel for 6 weeks doing some academic work at Hebrew University, and during that time, while we kept in wonderful close touch by email, I could send him my sketchbook pages, and in that way share what I was doing in a different way than our letters.
Other folks - please share some of your pages, and thoughts and experiences.... I love learning from what others are doing.

6 comments:

Paula Pertile said...

I love your sketches Consie!
The toned paper is a good idea.
I tried sketching at the symphony once and found that people around were watching me sketch as much as they were watching the orchestra.
Funny about the ugly dress. :~)
And I'm going to check out those Derwent pencils. I'm a Polychromo junkie, but need to mix it up some.
Glad you shared these!

salmonowen said...

Wow, beautiful sketches! And what a great idea for sharing your experiences with your husband while you were apart. I love the bright colors on the toned paper. Since I'm almost done with my little moleskin, I think I'll look for something different for my next sketchbook. Thanks for sharing, Consie!

Janet

Consie said...

I'll share a couple of things I've learned about sketchbooks with toned paper. The main thing is that I can't seem to find any more readymade ones these days, which makes me sad. But I've been thinking of how to deal with this. One way is to make my own books; and I'm playing around with learning some stuff, so that might be an option. Another neat thing I hadn't thought of was to simply tone the white paper in a book with a nice colored wash. Duh... So that's an option if you can't find toned sketchbooks. (In the past when I bought the ones I've been using, I bought several at a time.)
About the colored pencils - I love the polychromos pencils too - a whole lot. But these watercolor pencils are cool - lots of possibilities. Tho these Inktense ones are REALLY bright. Also, I keep a white prismacolor as part of my standard supplies when I'm working with toned paper - added on top of color, or just here and there is really nice.
Anyone else got neat sketchbook tricks? I want to know what they are!
Consie

June said...

Great sketch books, and I know what you mean about a sketch capturing a moment and helping you remember so much about that time later on.
I was thinking about buying some Inktense pencils. Now that you have shown how wonderful they can be, I have to try some.
Keep sketching, and let us know if you end up making your own sketch books.

Ellen B said...

Consie,
That branch of yellow flowers is exquisite. Thanks for the inspiration.

Laura J. said...

Haha, I got on here to post how much I loved the toned paper effect-only to find I'm late to that party! Wow, your sketches are wonderful Consie. My sketchbook is oddly filled with writing, just ideas for stuff that comes into my head. I have to force myself to draw anything. I could swear I have seen brown paper sketchbooks at Barnes and Noble. I will check and let you know.
Laura