People used to tell me "You should always keep a sketch book!". My problem was that I hated sketchbooks. Not the idea of keeping one-- I like the idea. I think every artist should have one. I just hated the book itself. Problem #1: The stupid gutter. I don't know if it's because I'm a lefty and my hand always gets in the way or because it's just really inconvienent to have that big crack down the middle of the page. You can't even get a decent scan. They are just dumb. Problem #2: Putting that first doodle in the book. Do you know what I mean? You open a fresh, clean, new book with a big white page staring back at you and you think you're going to screw it up by putting a dorky drawing right there on the first page. Then you have to look at the same dorky drawing everytime you open the book. Pretty intimidating if you ask me.
My solution was to not have a "sketchbook" in the traditional sense. Instead, I just draw on flat 8 1/5 x 11 copy paper. My hand isn't getting in the way of nuthin. It's not just any old copy paper ether. I found some great paper that is heavy and very white and a dream to draw on called Cougar Opaque. It's the best! You'd love it, trust me. I never feel like bad about about sketching like this. If I screw up I can just throw it away and start again. No pressure. I sit at my desk all day and when I get the urge to sketch I just pull out a sheet and draw. Then at the end of the year I take my stack o' sketches and get them spiral bound. It works great for me. And for portability I also have this little aluminum clipboard (see photo) that I carry around. It holds a stack of my paper inside as well as pencils and an eraser. It's nice and works great but, I don't always carry it with me because of it's size.
I decided I'd better get me a pocket sized one. I've heard a lot of artists raving about these Moleskine sketchbooks. They sounded kinda cool so I went to get one the other day. I didn't find the Moleskine ones, but I found one called Modeskin. They seemed kinda similar and much cheaper. I got mine for under $4. Not too bad. Anyway, I'm converted. It's nice to have a sketchbook that is pocket sized, compact, and convienent for when you have a new idea or if you see some freak who is just begging to be drawn. Here are my first couple pages. I hope they aren't too dorky.
There you go folks. That's my stand on sketchbooks. I'm not saying it's the only way to go, but it works for me. If you're not keeping a sketchbook, you should. It is a great way to track your progress and improvement and to keep a journal of your ideas.