Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sketchbook Inspiration

Last week I got a truly fantastic book by Danny Gregory called An Illustrated Life. It is chock full of amazing examples of sketchbooks by all sorts of people. Apparently the first printing is already sold out. What I have been most struck by is the stunning variety of preferences. Each artist answers questions regarding where and when they like to sketch, public or private, what size book and type of paper, what media, whether or not they ever tear out a page, etc. Some of them want the cheapest paper because it is less daunting, some will only use moleskines. Some will only use certain pens filled with certain ink, or a specific brand of watercolor, and some only like to use cheap giveaway pens, and some use whatever is handy. Some carefully plan layouts and some fill in with small sketches, the more mayhem the better. They rarely start on the first page. Some start in the middle and work out. Some have rigid guidelines for what goes in the book, and some include their grocery lists. The beauty of it all is that one page doesn't do anyone's work justice. You need many pages, and that's what this book shows. Bravo! I love this and this and this!

Reading the multitude of answers to questions made me feel better about life somehow– free not to try so hard to be other people or adhere to a strict (yet elusive) schedule of what life is supposed to be like. All of that from a book on sketchbooks!
I enjoy the Oilily catalogue because it has a sketchbook-quality. At the bottom of the page of this particular issue Journal #42 Spring/Summer 2005, there was a running story that was hilarious about tickling the earth, a neighborhood project of painting 97 plaster gnomes and hiding them in the neighborhood, and making new street signs like "right of way for submarines." I think I may try writing a story along the bottom of my sketchbook!This is a recent sketch of my normally tidy dining room shelf invaded by refugees from my kitchen cabinet painting project!

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