A sketchbook is for: doodling, to-do lists, shopping lists, important dates, planning Halloween costumes, planning future art projects/shows, drawing challenges, laying out gallery exhibitions, mission statements, waiting for events to start, surviving plane rides, recording interesting quotes from reading, coffee & tea stains, brainstorming, passing notes during lectures, keeping figety hands busy during movies, and remembering what happened in the past.
(Below: An image studied from the movie Paris, Texas.)
This particular sketchbook was created and filled between 22 September 2009 Tuesday – 21 January 2010 Thursday, during my years as a graduate student at Louisiana State University. I feel that the drawings in this book are not particularly strong, and a lot of that is probably due to the fact that my creative energies were really divided. Most of my attention was going into pieces I was making and not the doodling and sketching. Also, most of these drawings are done from imagination and not from life. The strongest among them are studies from life or the work of other artists such as Henreich Kley, Walton Ford and Jim Henson and his band of Puppeteers.
Blake asked me this morning, “So, are all of these sketchbook posts you’ve been making inspiring you to make new work?” At first, I thought this question was some sort of sneaky husband trick saying, “Get off the damn computer and start making something!” But, as I answered him, I realized I’m looking back into my past to figure out my future a bit.
I think that people have often been attracted to my sketchbooks even more than my finished artworks. I’m not sure entirely why this is, but I think it has to do with the fact that my drawing is at the forefront, there is a “collage” aspect to the work either actual or implied, and the commentary and text blends with the image to create the piece. The works of art on paper I’ve created that I feel are the strongest have elements of this, such as my “Story Map” pieces.
I do always work from a collage perspective, joining a lot of images and perspectives together in my work, and my sketchbooks are a great study for that. You can see below an image of my typical work area when creating drawing studies for a print.
The image above is a mission statement I wrote during this time for art making, which was part of an assignment we did for graduate seminar. If you’re interested, you can check out the statement in full in my post, Art That Silences Owls.
If you have noticed the red and blue blots on the bottom of many of these sketchbook pages, it is due to the fact that I constructed this book from the scrap paper I tore off of my Octopus print:
Flight vs. Invisibility, a great episode on This American Life.
The last couple of images in this particular sketchbook are drawings from works by watercolorist Walton Ford, one of my favorite contemporary art makers. He uses the style of historical naturalist painter John James Audubon to comment on man’s affect on the natural world through ecological study, colonialism and politics. Here’s a great video from ART 21 on his work and research processes: