Sketchbooks Pt. 2

August 15, 2019

This is a continuation of my previous entry, regarding some of the uses I have in working in a sketchbook. Previously, I discussed thumbnails and keeping a journal. I just wanted to mention a few other things that I do in my own sketchbooks (and would love to hear what you do in yours…or your fears of using a sketchbook, so please do comment).


I keep a sketchbook with me in my daily travels and when on holidays. Sometimes you see something or someone and want to jot some of that down. I find that I remember a lot more about something when I sketch something out (which is why I also keep a travel journal).

Separately, sometimes you read an article or book and are struck by an image or are struck by an idea out of thin air. It is important to put these thoughts down and try to create an interpretation of this imaginary subject. It comes in handy when you need to search the “well” for concepts or to refine your ability to use your imagination to generate a work.


It isn’t uncommon for artists to find inspiration in the art of others. This is a concept that likely as old as art itself in that you can learn from copying. Also, just because a sketchbook is paper doesn’t mean you can’t paint and I have on occasion (usually in gouache) to do color studies of original work or based on work of another artist. Note that I labeled this section as a study and not a copy. I personally do not try to make identical works to what I see, but I try to learn from what I see by loosely following the work. This is not to suggest there is a problem with doing faithful copies and many artists successfully learn from this method. For a sketchbook though, I would argue that this is not the place to put faithful copies, but to keep thoughts or sketches and to keep going.

If you made it this far you have my gratitude! I will move on to other subjects in the following ruminations, but may return to do a Part 3 at some point.

Sketchbooks Pt. 1

I came across this article on CreativeBloq (link below), which featured a look inside the artist Loish’s sketchbook. The work here is really wonderful and makes me wonder about my own sketch-booking habits. I briefly wondered if every page of her sketchbook’s looked so immaculate, with no discarded ideas or fragmented images. Of course in an article they would want to focus on the beautiful parts, right?

Regardless of the answer, sketching takes a lot of pressure off of needing to succeed in every attempted idea or drawing. I just wanted to mention a few things that I do in my own sketchbooks (and would love to hear what you do in yours…or your fears of using a sketchbook, so please do comment).


I often fool around with shapes, sketch up figures often standing in some type of pose, or floating faces, but the way I work this tool out the best is in making thumbnails. Thumbnails are basically a very small image showing a very simplistic look at what could be in a painting. Think of it as the bare essentials. Often these seeds can sprout into a painting, but more often then not they will remain seeds. Seeds can sprout at a much later date, so making plenty of these things are useful when feeling low on inspiration. I may do a separate post on thumbnails at some point.


I read a lot of Delacroix’s journal, in which he wrote about things happening in his life and about his thoughts on art. I saw the value in doing this, as you may not realize some drivers in your artwork (or in life) until you force yourself to write it down. It is similar to squeezing on a cloud to get the rain because a cloud will never stay put, but at least you have the rain on the pages to capture the essence. I may also develop this further in another post, if there is interest.

To be continued as this is enough rambling for one post.