Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sketchbooks

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.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would you mind revealing the secret location at which you buy such wonderful notebooks for those of us who live in the Utah county area?

MadameGaston said...

that paper idea is great... those sketchbooks are so organized!

The man in the hat in the middle is great.. As are all your sketches.

Joe said...

I have thought about doing it this way for along time. it is hard to break the drawing routines that we aquire though. great blog and sketches.

Kactiguy said...

Anonymous, I got them at Provo Art and Paint. You can get them online too. I included a link in my post.

wintermonkey said...

great sketches!
i discovered moleskine's about a year ago and fell in love instantly. you described all of my biggest pet peeves about sketchbooks. i like the look of those modeskine's. i'll have to order some.
thanks!!

Fulton Beal said...

Those sketchbooks look great, thanks for the info!

Cedric said...

I have the same love-hate relationship with sketchbooks. Around the studio I mostly use regular copier paper. But a while back I bought a bunch of hardcover sketchbooks from the discount section at Barnes and Noble, and I always keep one in the car and in the winter I keep one stuffed in my jacket pocket. That way I'm never without a sketchbook. They are much cheaper than the same hardcover ones in any art store, check it out next time you are in B&N. They seem to have them on sale quite regularly.

Jo Bling said...

Love the robot up top, Guy. Very groovy :-)

S.T. Lewis said...

This is a good idea, Guy. I don't use sketchbooks much either. I have a stack of drawings that I don't want to throw away that's about 4 feet tall. Maybe I should look into this method of organizing... as soon as the stack's taller than me, I guess.

constanthing said...

I have the same fear of ruining a nice, brand-new sketchbook. Give me an expensive-looking piece of paper and I freeze, I can sketch freely only on recycled paper, as there's nothing to ruin ... I'm still doing it now and keeping these scrap pieces tied with a string (I'm such a cheapskate)! Like your inaugural sketches, especially the robot popping out from the bottom of a page, not dorky at all.

Alina Chau said...

great pages, looking forward to see more of your awesome drawings!

Chris Gardner said...

Hey Guy, I'm glad I found your blog, I've become an instant fan of your stuff. You nailed it with the sketchbook thing, I've never been able to keep one and I've literally got dozens of the things around and I just can't do it. Like others here, I've got thousands of odd papers and such scattered everywhere with doodles all over them. It's crazy, congratulations on the nice start to the Modeskine. The "halloween" mainstays are great. I'll be back around.

Hans said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hans said...

That's funny, my art director just told me about this resurrection of the moleskin sketchbook and I really want to get one, but since you can get 4 MoDeskins for the price of one MoLeskin, I might wanna consider that instead. Thanks for the tip:) I have the same problem with sketchbooks as you mentioned. First off, I hate that blank first page and second, the scanning problem. I've had to rip out pages from my sketchbook before, in order to make a decent scan.

By the way, your sketches are awesome, if I could just fill mine with stuff like that, I would have no problem:)

Take care,

Hans

Drazen said...

Love all your recent posts Guy
but then I dug all the old ones too

d

Chris G. said...

Nice ;) If you end up using these sketchbooks in the long term, think about getting an OpticBook 3600, which will let you scan whole pages without getting that greyed edge present in the scans you've done.

Oh and I don't work for them, I just use it to non-destructively scan 100+ year old books, which it does a brilliant job of.

Keep up the nice work :)

Bobby Chiu said...

haha... love the robot sketch!

garth bruner said...

Heck, at those prices, I bought 5! When they arrived in the mail, my kids assumed they were for them. They were so excited, how could I tell them no? I actually, deep down knew that would happen, so I'm glad I got a good supply.

Kat said...

Thank you for a great post with wonderful ideas. I admit I too prefer sheets of paper to a sketch book because I hate how I can't go all the way to the edges because I can't draw with my hand hanging over the edge of oblivion. The only problem I had with loose sheets was that I didn't know what to do with them afterwards. I guess a book seems more precious and save-worth than random sheets of paper no matter how good the stuff on top is.

I do feel it is important to keep a running log of sketches. It's really amazing and wonderful to see your progress. Don't forget to date (at least month and year).