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Friday, August 03, 2018

Sketchbooks And Journals...

...became big business several years ago.  Articles about how to are all over the internet, not to mention the books.  In this country, I think it's a lot to do with City and Guilds; if it's not developed in a sketchbook or journal, it's not considered 'proper' work.   Snort.  And all these articles and books are full of beautifully finished illustrations, many of them mixed media of some kind, implying that that is what you should be producing.  Yeah, right.   To me, both sketchbooks and journals are working documents, and they're not for public consumption.  They're about process, the development of ideas, and it's unfortunate that this plethora of information and images potentially puts off as many people as it encourages.

I rarely use a sketchbook, and when I do, it tends to be to kill time in a waiting room.  I much prefer to develop ideas through the materials, usually without a specific plan.  As it happens, I was in a waiting room yesterday (more of that later), and I thought I'd share what I did, and what the process was in its production.

So...I started just making marks, a good way to warm up.  They're the marks in the centre of this page, a roughly sketched repeating pattern.  And then I thought, what I should really be doing, is playing around with ideas for a book, more specifically the book that will support the work I showed you here

So... I drew a number of rectangles.  and started to play around with the basic idea, to see if it would work at the smaller size of an individual book page.  The rectangle trick is a really good way of developing ideas; it lets you compare and contrast within a single page.  Seemed to be okay, so I took it a stage further, looking at the way the pages would combine in the unfolded book.  They occur in threes within this particular folded book structure.  You'll notice that at this stage, the blocks I've sketched out aren't particularly carefully done.  This is an idea; as long as I can get a rough idea of how things will work, that's enough.  I prefer to develop on the actual piece, or on a facsimile thereof, rather than in the journal...see what I mean about a *working* document? 

I started on the bottom page, top row.  Three semi abstract landscapes.  As I thought that having them all aligned in the same way was boring, I tried changing the orientation on the bottom row.  That seemed better, so I looked at what that would be like in combination, on the page above.  I'm happy with that, and will try it in real time.  And, as the doctor was running late, that gave me the chance to sketch out an idea I had several days ago, for a shaped book based on a tree.

This one will be all about the cutting, using the same approach as for a doll paper chain.  It won't be possible to stand this one up, but I still think it'll be an interesting thing to do in either paper or textile.  And that took me to leaves, a visual pun on a 'leaf' of paper, using the same technique.  You'll notice I write myself wee notes (and often I never refer to them again...go figure...).  Incidentally, I went back to the original post and made some more notes; the drawings of individual pages made me think that it might be interesting to make some single pages like that, and join them using some wrapped twigs.  I'm not sure if this one will work, particularly not the second leaf shape.  Though the second one might be interesting as a chain that I could drape around a larger's a thought...

So, where does that leave me?  A couple of ideas confirmed as doable; another as a possibility, depending on size, and a further idea for a 'garland' of leaves, possibly made from burned out lutradur and stitch.  Not bad for fifteen minutes of thinking and drawing. 

I hope that demystifies the making of sketchbooks, and proves how useful they can be.  I started with no idea whatsoever of what I was going to do, but the process of doodling reminded me of things I could be doing to develop a couple of existing ideas. 

I said that I'd mention the doctor's appointment.  The ME ( I refuse to call it 'my' ME) has deteriorated quite dramatically over the last couple of months, and I can no longer stand long enough to work. Plus, I will be having minor surgery next week, which has the potential to make things even worse.  As a result the blog will be significantly less frequent.  I'm really sorry about that, but there's a limit to what I can do from my bed, and that's where I've been more often than not this past year.  I'll do my best to stay in touch, though.  Fingers crossed that things improve.


Bossymamma said...

Thank you for this post, Marion. The idea of a sketch book has always brought to mind the terrors of being expected to prove my workings out at school. You have dissolved that expectation. I'm sad for you that the ME has been and is so much worse: I hadn't realised just how bad it is at the moment.

artmixter said...

It is what it is... sadly, but thanks. A sketchbook is a really good tool... but it is only that. Use it with joy lol.