Thoughts on Keeping an Artist’s Sketchbook

Do I keep a sketch book? Yes, but I’ll bet it’s not what you expect. There are as many lists and words as sketches. I use my journal for everything from notes on book and article ideas to sketches of people, places and things. Sometimes, I go for days without an entry and then other times several pages are gone in one day.

I’m hesitant to share the sketches because people seem to expect a work of art and act a bit let down when the sketches aren’t as finished or polished as they expected. Some pages are more colorful and attractive than others and that usually depends on how much time I was able to spend. The fast and messy pages are more valuable to me because the ideas they contain were important. The sketch posted here was made very quickly while waiting at a parking lot because I liked the way the breeze was swishing the fronds and how the sun glinted off them.

To me, painting, drawing and sketching are different skills and may be accomplished in different styles. Some artists are more consistent, but I’m not one of them. My sketch style is abbreviated and messy while my drawings are much more precise and detailed. In comparison, my painting style is closer to my sketching style but doesn’t resemble it much because of the difference in mediums.

I really like to see other artist’s sketches. It’s like getting a peek at the thought process behind the scenes. Karen Winters, a truly accomplished landscape painter, posed a thoughtful question on her blog about drawing, sketching and sharing that process. I’d love to hear what you think.