Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why should you have a sketchbook?

Why should you have a sketchbook?


At Vanessa’s Art Studio, I am constantly telling my art students to get a sketchbook and work on it on the daily basis. Many of my students ask why having a sketchbook is so important. Here are the reasons why you should have a sketchbook:

  • The sketchbook is a place to test and refine ideas. The sketchbook is the place where concepts are developed before drafting them on canvas or paper. Feel free to experiment a concept on your sketchbook and see if you can translate it later into a finished work.
  • The sketchbook is where you practise your drawing and painting skills. Practise makes progress. Progress is the fuel of energy that keeps us creating and growing as artists.
  • While many sketchbooks are considered works of art by themselves, they don’t have to be. The sketchbook can be used as a preparatory study of a subject, a final concept, a gathering of information or simply contain a moment in time you decided to record with your pencil.
  • Sketchbooks are great ways to see your own progress as an artist over the months and years. It is fun to flip back on your sketchbook and see where have you been and what have you done.
  • The sketchbook will help you loosen up and be more confident with your lines and work.
  • A sketchbook is a great icebreaker and tool to get connected with other artists. It is a great way to show others what you are working on and start a conversation.
  • Accessibility. It is easy to carry a sketchbook with you everywhere you go than carry a big canvas or drawing board. Just reach out to your pocket or purse and start drawing the subject that captures your attention.
  • Phone and cameras versus sketchbooks. Phone and cameras are great tools to have but if they run out of battery or the light is not good, they aren't as helpful. A sketchbook is always there, with poor light or no electricity, you can always sketch. In addition, sometimes the cameras and phones capture too much or too little information, which doesn’t tell the entire story. On a sketchbook, you can tell the story with images and words combine them and created them as they flow.
  • Disconnect from the world. A sketchbook can help you disconnect from the world and distractions of emails and social media and bring you back to living in the moment. Taking the time to observe and sketch what you see as it is happening, helps you be in be in the moment.

Are there any rules for a sketchbook?

  • The rule is that there are no rules.
  • You can use any media inside your sketchbook; however, I recommend that if you plan to use any paint media, you pick a sketchbook that supports mixed media or paint.
  • The sketchbook should be personal and reveal your artist's response to your environment.
  • The sketchbook doesn’t have to be perfect. The nice thing about a sketchbook is that if the drawing or painting didn’t come out how you wanted it, you just move to the next page and start over.
  • Not every sketch, drawing or painting on your sketchbook needs to be a pretty drawing or masterpiece. They also don’t have to be finished drawings.
  • Use the sketchbook for copying at museums, drawing from imagination and developing complex paintings. On your sketchbook, you can work from imagination, photographs or life. You can draw with pen and ink, pencil, paint, watercolor or any other media.
  • Your sketchbook is your playground. There should be freedom. Try not to hesitate or be self-conscious of how it looks. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Remind yourself that this is your sketchbook and there is no need to share it or show it to anyone.
  • On your sketchbook, you can work sequentially through a single page or not. There are no rules since your sketchbook is yours only and you are the queen or king on it.
  • As a way to see progress, I do recommend that you date your drawings. This will help you in the future when you look at your sketchbook and wonder when you created that drawing.

What kind of sketchbook should I buy?

  • The sketchbook can be of any kind. It could be a hardcover with good bidding or as simple a folder with pages or an old book.
  • You should buy the one that best suits your individual artistic needs and budget.
  • You want a sketchbook that you can keep with you at all times so that when inspiration hits you, you are ready to record it on your sketchbook.

Thank you for readying this post.

Vanessa Montenegro

For more information about my art and my classes, visit vanessamontenegro.com
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©2016 Vanessa Montenegro
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