It Starts With the Sketchbook

comments (1) October 18th, 2008     

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AlexSudalnik Alexander Sudalnik, contributor
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All forms of inspiration are in my sketchbook.
My sketchbook is full of sketches, experiments with knitting, and fabric inspiration.
Heres an example of pattern development in my sketchbook.
Waterproof paper and environmentally friendly sketchbooks are available from Rite in the Rain.
My sketchbook of choice is The Aquabee 11 x 14 Super Deluxe Sketchbook.
All forms of inspiration are in my sketchbook.

All forms of inspiration are in my sketchbook.

Photo: Alex Sudalnik

Keeping a sketchbook is something any creative person should do. Not only is it an essential storage area for all your creative endeavors, but it also serves as a fascinating reminder of your past thought processes.

The first step to starting a sketchbook is finding the physical book that you will be sketching in. Here are some points of consideration:

Method of Binding: From hand-bound to spiral, the method of binding determines how the book will lie when opened. I prefer a spiral bound so I can have my entire sketchbook lie flat against a tabletop.

Covers: Make sure the covers of the sketchbook are durable so they protect the ideas between them. Look for sturdy materials like heavy mat board. Personally, I like sketchbooks that have plain, solid-color, or "natural" covers. Since I will be using my sketchbook for job interviews, a plain cover keeps the interviewer's attention focused on the work inside, not on the "interesting" cover.

Size: The size of your sketchbook all depends on whether you'll be taking it everywhere or leaving it at home. I like to work in large sketchbooks (11 x 14 inches), which allows me to draw large and detailed. I also use a 3 x 5-inch softcover book to jot ideas in while doing everyday traveling.

Paper: The type of medium that you will be using in your sketchbook usually determines the paper thickness and roughness. I use pencil, pen, and marker, so I choose a thicker watercolor paper that doesn't bleed through to the other side.

Cost: Cost should be the last thing you look at when buying a sketchbook. Your sketchbook is your tool for developing your aesthetic and therefore is invaluable. It helps you become better at what you love to do. Whatever the price, the results will certainly outweigh it.

Once you've picked the ideal sketchbook, it's time to start using it! A new sketchbook can be very intimidating—it's quite stunning with its shiny spiral binding and beautifully blank pages. Concerns about making something ugly, messing up the paper, etc., can hinder you from using your sketchbook. Don't worry! That's what a sketchbook is for—it's for you to try new things and make mistakes. It's a perfect place to develop a fantastic final product.

Use your sketchbook not only to sketch ideas, designs, and doodles but also as a repository for inspiration. Whether it's a photograph, piece of fabric, or a used napkin, stick it in your sketchbook. Be sure to use acid-free tape or glue so years from now your sketchbook will be in the same condition as when you first worked on it.

Most important, have fun when using your sketchbook. If it's not fun, then what's the point?

posted in: creativity, ideas, sketchbook, sketching

Comments (1)

Jaimegirl writes: I'm glad to see this article! I CANNOT draw so I avoided sketching for a long time. Recently I became interested in clothing design so I thought I'd give it a try. Now, my sketches don't look near as wonderful as yours, but the process really helped me to get the creativity flowing - I was really surprised! Even if I never follow through with some of the ideas, I found the practice in this creative process to be really beneficial.
Posted: 5:21 pm on October 20th
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