Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Sketchbook Shenannigans

Pretty much everyone I know who's an illustrator/comic artist keeps a sketchbook of some kind. I'm a sucker for sketchbooks; I love looking through other peoples and getting an idea of their thought processes and the way they work. I'm a little hesitant to hand mine over though...! This is partly because I don't really keep a sketchbook anymore, it's more of a notebook that goes everywhere with me, regardless of whether I plan to draw in it or not.
Most of the pages are covered in black fine liner doodles, and more often than not, notes that don't make any sense, lists of things to do and websites that I've come across that I scribble down so I don't forget to go back to them (I usually do).
I'd love to be able to keep awesome Moleskine journals full of gorgeous watercolour and pen drawings but I just don't work like that. I draw a character/thumbnail, work it up in pencil and either ink it and colour it on the computer or transfer it to canvas and paint it. There isn't really much of a process to my artwork, although I often feel like there should be! I don't experiment with different materials as much as I used to, which is what sketchbooks are good for. I guess I feel like I'm more productive when I produce finish pieces rather than working in my notebook.

If anyone else has any thoughts on sketchbooks and their own working process, I'd love to hear it!


  1. I don't keep a sketchbook technically - mine is a doodle book. A sketchbook would have sketches in them - something a bit more impressive than my godawful scribblings. If I thought about them as sketchbooks I would freeze up and never draw anything for fear that I might ruin the loveliness of the blank sketchbook (moleskine at that!), so to me they are just doodle books. No pencil - just straight onto the page with brushpen.

  2. I'm glad someone else works like me! I also live in the fear of ruining nice blank sketchbooks which is why I exiled myself to land of cheap notebooks. I also like the term "doodle book!"

  3. It really is a sketchbook, but constantly convincing myself otherwise is the only way I can function.

    I have what is called a 'stationery fetish'. I get given really lovely sketchbooks (mostly from Muji) constantly as presents which I adore but am unable to bring myself to sully with my pathetic pen marks. Anything that isn't spiral bound is generally out, cos I usually fuck up the first page then rip it out and so 'ruin' the whole book. I'm then too ashamed to throw it out, but cannot use a ruined book, so it sits in a box mocking me. I might go and throw them out tonight.

    My 'doodle books' are on these moleskine soft cover notebooks...

    ...which are aesthetically pleasing, but basic and rough enough to allow me to sully them as much as I like. I've got two more waiting to use, then a black one. Lovely.

  4. Ooh, that's pretty! I've litereally just ordered myself a plain Moleskine notebook to doodle in. My doddles may be crap, but the book doesn't have to be!

    I too suffer from a stationary fetish. When I went to Japan a couple of years ago I bought a load of awesome notebooks that I'll never use; they're too nice to soil!

    I also don't think I've completed an entire book; I usually stop a few pages from the end and they're generally left partially full. The lure of starting a new book is just too strong...

  5. This book is worth a look if you like peering through the sketchbooks of others...'s ace.


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