I was a Kansan for the first 43 years of my life, and moved to San Antonio TX in 1997. I am an RN, though not currently practicing. In addition to working with textiles and paper, I enjoy photography, reading, gardening, and I'm a pilot. My proudest achievement is my wonderful family: I have a great husband and 3 daughters, all artists. Life is good!
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
Always more than one! One book remains fairly linear as it contains notes about current and ongoing projects which has both sketches and notes. I keep a separate book for surface design work with dyeing and printing and I paste samples in it. I have 2 others that are for figure drawing and collage.
I carry small moleskin books when I travel, larger ones for doing life drawing, painting and collaging. For me, there is no "one size fits all". I mark each life drawing with the date and how long I worked on it.
What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet, spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?
I actually enjoy working in different books with a variety of page surfaces. I think it keeps things more interesting. I particularly enjoy books that have a variety of page-types in them.
Small books are wonderful for taking along on a trip.
When I travel I carry pens, a small travel watercolor box, a few markers, double-sided tape, watercolor postcards, and stamps, all in a clear plastic zipper bag. I love fine-tip permanent markers for writing. I do life-drawings with graphite pencils. I never check a suitcase unless I'm teaching, so I avoid carrying liquids. If I'm teaching I love having gel medium (and a small brush) along for the ride.
Double sided tape is great for adding museum tickets, tram passes, etc., to collages. I like mailing myself postcards with drawings, watercolor paintings, and bits of ephemera from the trip, which gives me the postmark on the collage, as well as something to find in the mailbox when I get home. These cards are often glued onto blank pages of the sketchbook.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
I think many people are intimidated by the blank page. One solution to that is adding color to a series of pages. Cut inspiration images from magazines and glue them onto a few pages. These can lead to quick sketches or paintings at a later time. It is a way to begin interacting with the sketchbook.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Dive in and swim. Make an appointment with yourself to interact with your sketchbook. With few exceptions, artists with excellent drawing skills acquired them through practice. Create a basket containing your sketchbook and a few preferred tools and keep it in a convenient place. A few minutes here and there will begin to add up.
Visit Leslie's website here to see more of her work.
Get all the details on the Sketchbook Challenge here.