If you’ve been creating art for a while, then you probably already keep a sketchbook. In fact, you probably have several (I have at two in use at any one time – an A4 watercolour sketchbook and an A5 plain paper sketchbook).
But, if you’re just starting out as an artist, then I’ll explain why it’s a good idea to keep at least two sketchbooks.
Well, it’s pretty simple really – you keep one sketchbook for the high-quality work that you want to show other people and you keep one sketchbook for the low-quality work that you don’t show anyone. This might sound slightly strange, but you need the low-quality sketchbook in order to make stuff for the high-quality one.
This is because the low-quality sketchbook is where you do all of your practice, try out new artistic techniques and possibly plan out ideas for the pictures you plan to draw and/or paint in your larger sketchbook. In addition to this, it can end up serving as a diary, a general notebook, somewhere to doodle when you’re bored and about a thousand other things too.
To use a rather clunky metaphor, your low-quality sketchbook is the “soil” that everything in your high-quality sketchbook grows out of. And, by keeping your low-quality and high-quality material in separate books, you’ll be able to impress people a lot more easily whenever you show off your work.
Not only that, keeping two sketchbooks allows you to self-censor your work, whilst still allowing you to express yourself at the same time. For example, my high-quality watercolour sketchbooks just contain paintings that I’d be happy to show to almost anyone.
But my low-quality sketchbooks contain all sorts of random cartoons (some of them are pretty rude..), satirical sketches, introspective poetry, random drawing practice and things like that. If you keep two sketchbooks, then you can keep one private and keep one for public consumption.
In addition to this, it’s best to use spiral-bound sketchbooks if you can, for the simple reason that it’s both easier to remove pages (if you want to frame anything or send your art anywhere) and it’s also much easier to scan pages from a spiral-bound sketchbook than it is to scan pages from a hardback sketchbook.
Well, since this is about all I can think to say about sketchbooks at the moment, I thought that I’d show you a few carefully selected pages from my own low-quality sketchbooks in case you were curious about them (click on the pictures for a larger version):
My plans for a sci-fi comic I never made called “Orbis Viridis”
The (slightly censored) plans for my unfinished and abandoned “Ephemera” comic.
The REAL reason why I can’t draw “Simpsons”-style art.
My attempt at drawing something with an old pen from the 1990s that I found a few months ago.
This was when I was trying to work out how to draw the outlines of people’s faces in a more realistic way.
Some random planning for two “Damania” comics I made late last year
The sketchbook page that contains the little sketch at the beginning of this article.
Sorry for the ridiculously short article, but I hope it was interesting 🙂