When I was in high school my art teacher emphasized and re- emphasized the use of a sketchbook, with a pencil or a pen, of course. While waiting for a bus, on the bus, or on the toilet, if applicable.
In those days, I thought sketching a lot was a quite a discipline he was asking us to do at all times. But underneath, I was afraid of it. Afraid of making mistakes. Afraid of the unrefined. Afraid of what others would think of me!
Well, it was obvious that if I was ever going to be pleased with anything I ever did, I had to overcome the fear of the unsettled. And the only place to start is on the blank staring page in the sketchbook. And off I went.
The fear is just like being afraid of the boogie man under the stairs, it has no reason.
Today, I don’t execute any work without a good amount of sketchwork. If I’m not feeling up to it I better get going because you will settle in to it. And to me, the real reason for doing creative work today is:
a. To please myself
b. To make money, and if someone else gets happy, that is a big bonus.
But most importantly, sketch. It’s like nurturing and your vision to a full grown idea. Alter it, add to it, and shape it to your liking. And at some point, it will tell you when to stop or move on to the next one.
If you’re avoiding this very necessary aspect of creating for yourself or a client:
Start with thumbnails of your idea. The more the better.
I use 11 by 8 in. sketchbook and make a lot of sketches. I use colored pencils because the give me a great flexibility of softness/hardness of lines and a great shading ability.
This process also allows my ideas to develop, often in a completely surprising direction. It seems like the more I let go of preconceived ideas, the happier I am with the outcome.
A portion of my last painting, see previous post.