Why You Should Have a Sketchbookcomments (4) August 28th, 2008
I never used to be sketchy. I used to pride my freestylin’ ways of crafting wherever my thread or glue would take me. Even when I began writing my newspaper craft column eight years ago, I preferred to make things up as I went along.
That changed last year when I was hired by Duncan Enterprises to design my very own Crafty Chica product line. All of a sudden, I was asked to provide three craft design sketches at a time to help with prototyping, advertisements, magazine spreads, and so on. This was crucial because people in different departments would use the sketch while working on different aspects of the line. Talk about intimidating!
At the same time, I happened to be starting on a sewing book for Potter Craft. My editor asked for a full-color sketch of each project. Gulp.
What was up with all these sketch requests? Couldn’t I just make something fabulous and hand it in, like in the good ol’ days?
My first reaction was very JLo-diva-ish. In my head I thought, “Ha! The chica does not sketch! The chica creates!”
But…I was too chicken to say that out loud.
Plus, I thought about fashion and interior designers. Their whole careers are built on sketches. Why not crafts, too? So I licked the tip of a newly sharpened No. 2, and doodled on a sheet of typing paper. I then added color with brush markers and jotted notes in the margin about variations. It was much easier than I imagined.
These days, I have a blank book dedicated to sketches. Every time I think of an idea for a design for my column, product line, or personal artwork, I devote a whole page to fleshing out the concept. Kind of like visual brainstorming. I used to just write down my ideas, but sketching reveals new opportunities I never knew of.
I love that sketching exercises my illustration muscles and the engineering process, too. I love using markers and colored pencils to bring an idea to life. Sure, there is only a 50/50 chance my finished project will look exactly like the original rendering, but that’s OK. There has to be some kind of spontaneity, right?
Tips for sketching:
• Don’t worry if you can’t draw well. You’re not going to enter your book in a contest; it is just a visual launching pad to get your creative juices flowing.
• Sketch everything, even if you know you won’t get to it for a while. When you are in a dry spell, you can just flip your book open and choose a project to make!
• If you see something you love at a store, sketch your own version.
• Only keep that book for sketching, that way you will stay focused.
• Keep a pencil pouch with an eraser and colored pencils handy.
• Keep your book close by at all times so you won’t miss any fab ideas!