Lately I find myself asking why keep a sketchbook? My work has changed, evolved, over the past year and I sometimes wonder whether a sketchbook is still relevant to my creative process. When I painted from a representational perspective my sketchbooks served as a visual journal keeping my observational skills sharp. However, now that I am painting from a more intuitive place, where does a sketchbook fit in to my studio practice? To address these questions I took a quick tour of my more recent sketchbooks to see if I could identify what value they hold for my art making.
My sketchbooks are often a place where I explore, in a non-threatening way, color relationships, mark making, and composition.
It can be a quick study or I may spend more time, but however the result, it is easy to just turn the page and move on.
Sometimes I like to just draw. I find drawing can be a kind of grounding activity that helps keep me centered on more hectic days.
When time and commitments prevent working on a painting, a sketchbook provides a more manageable creative outlet.
And from a very practical standpoint, images contained in a book require less space to store, which matters in my small studio.
Often, a sketch serves as a warm up to starting a new work or series of works, especially if there will be a shift in process or intent.
So to summarize, yes, a sketchbook remains a valuable tool in my art making tool box, no matter the direction my art is taking me. Do you keep a sketchbook? I would love to hear how your sketchbook influences your art practice. If you'd like to see a more complete overview of the evolution of my sketchbook pages pop over to my Sketchbooks page.