Recording Images and Thoughts in your Sketchbook
How often a marvelous and stimulating view comes before the eyes of an artist; a view which the artist believes will most certainly be remembered because it has such an immediate impact on the stage of ideas. And then returning to the everyday life and patterns the image is gone and no amount of digging can bring that picture to the surface. It is this experience and the fact of human nature that recording an event in a sketchbook, however briefly, will help to preserve that memory for the artist to work with when back in the studio.
When June returned from spending a month painting on-site at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and shared her pleine aire gallery on her website, I was reminded of how important those records are if a body of work on a theme remembered is to be created. The artist sketchbook is a valuable tool and I have some thoughts to pass along about what is helpful to me to pack along to make the recordings in those sketchbooks useful when I am back in the studio.
A small case with a handle contains watercolor pencils and brushes with water-holding barrels for painting, several good felt pens, double sided tape for attaching bits that I find to pages instead of ending scrunched up in a pocket, a glue stick and a sketchbook travels with me everywhere in my car. This small kit is available to jot down a note together with a drawing wherever I may be, in the woods or at a museum. When I take a digital picture that is to help with my memory of a place or a bit that piques my creative juices, I leave a space in the sketchbook to place that picture when downloaded and printed. Sometimes it is months between my time in the studio and these sketchbooks hold the ideas and kernels that become art for me.
Today there are some great on-line helps for creating an art journal or sketchbook at artjournals.com. There are also some fine books now on the market to provide ideas and guides for keeping sketchbooks and journals and one that is specific to sketchbooks for textile artists. There are on this list two of my bookshelf companions for many years by Hannah Hinchman; both well worth finding at a library. I find the words and the sketches provoke ideas every time they come down for a read through. I have included a picture of each of the books’ cover and a brief bit about their content from the Alibris website.
Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists
by Kay Greenlees
Sketchbooks are invaluable companions for artists and an essential part of today’s textile courses, and now, at last, there’s a book that shows embroiderers and textile students how to make the most of their sketchbook practice. Through fascinating glimpses into the sketchbooks of leading textile artists, this beautifully illustrated, first-of-its-kind guide shows–from first sketches to finished pieces–how to use a sketchbook to develop ideas, record personal observations, experiment with materials, and create sketchbooks that are works of art in themselves. Sketching in museums, coloring pages, mark-making, drawing and collage, 3-D work, e-sketchbooks, and more are covered. A must-have for students, embroiderers, and textile artists of all abilities
Artists’ Journals and Sketchbooks: Exploring and Creating Personal Pages
by Lynne Perrella
Creative souls want and need a special place for recording and decoding their interior world a place to download all their creative ideas, a place to remember the events of the day, or a place to doodle, to draw, and to dream. Artists’ Journals and Sketchbooks is an engaging and intimate glimpse into the personal pages of a wide variety of select artists and journal keepers whose works not only provide visual delight and inspiration but evidence the intensity and devotion that such personal journals invite.
Making Journals by Hand: 26 Creative Projects for Keeping Your Thoughts
by Jason Thompson
Each project in this wonderful book is simple, yet will help you create a meaningful and personal place to keep your thoughts, write down your memories, or contemplate your future. Making Journals by Hand offers illustrated step-by-step instructions for hand-crafting the journal that creatively meets your personal journaling needs. Learn how to make a journal which matches your mood, personal style, or specific purpose, including specialty journals for travel, weddings, motherhood, and many other personal places to track your thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place
by Hannah Hinchman
From her home territory in Wyoming’s Northern Rockies, artist-naturalist Hannah Hinchman leads readers through fields and canyons, exploring the details of “a world of events” that are usually overlooked, and helping them to reclaim their senses through the creative disciplines of writing and drawing. Illustrations throughout
Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal
Borrowing the best examples from her own journals, and the works of others, Hinchman leads the reader from simple jottings and scratched likenesses to fully illuminated gems of philosophy. She shows how a lasting record of experience and a road map for self-discovery can be created. 116 illustrations, 16 in color
Sketchbooks have been employed by artists through the ages. This tool can add much to the process of art making.
Have you used a sketchbook (s)? Have you found ways of “remembering” the ideas you discover out in the world in your sketchbook(s)? Are there ideas for success in making and using the sketchbook you can pass along?
Remembering is so much more simple when there is a map to view.