Monday, 29 March 2010

Why bother to use a sketchbook? – Works in development versus a record of travel and experience.

Every artist should ask themselves “Why use a sketchbook?” Is it as:

- a memory jogger, a working tool to aid the creative process?

- a nostalgic record which allows you to recall happy times?

- a means to experiment with a new media?

- a workhorse, with great swaths of pencil/ink showing the finer nuances of you creative process?

- a handy means to keep all you paintings in one place?

How you use a sketchpad depends on your answer to these and other questions. In many ways it is easier to just take a photograph! There are many transient moments that can only be recorded by a photograph. But a sketch is more personal, more intimate. It bestows some of the character of the artist in ways a photograph cannot.

In the past two days I’ve produced 2 sketches. This one last night during “Earth Hour”.

Earth hour

I had some time – about 20 minutes - enough to achieve a level of completion, however flawed I might feel it is.


The second was a five minute creation while I was standing waiting for my children to go on a ride at Legoland in Windsor. I had to stop before it was anywhere near “completion” However it still had value as a thumbnail sketch. On this occasion I also took a photograph. Which is a backup practice many artist’s now use. But I still have this sketch. I took many photographs today. I may not remember all the details surrounding them in months to come. But this sketch is carved in my memory in a way no photograph can or will ever be! So yes, it may be incomplete, but it has so much more value than the corresponding photograph.

So why do you use a sketchbook?


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