After obtaining a Fine Arts degree in the early eighties, my understanding of paper and related media was further enhanced through two periods of long-term study in Japan in the mid to late eighties (supported by the Japan Foundation and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust).
(all photos courtesy of the artist)
Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
Its part of my reflective process. A means to jot down ideas, make notes and to keep my eye in.
I always have several on the go. Some for traveling and recording what I see, play ones where I glue, tear and stitch pages as a means to experiment freely, and hard covered a2 landscape ones which are more about developing ideas and recording thoughts. Ideas for this come from my play and observation books and from photographs, and a 'noteboards/sketch wall)
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?
A sketchbook is only for you..not for anyone else. So it does not matter how you record something, as long as you use it to carry your ideas and thoughts like a journal. Don't wait just for that fantastic trip to make a 'special sketchbook', try making notes about what your see in your garden, other works you like..whatever you find interesting. Try to do something in it every day and do not worry if the pages are chronological.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Drawings are visual notes and studies which are used to plan work or can be a piece of work in itself. In addition to the subject matter they should show texture, shape, pattern and tone. A series of recorded notes and photographs can be often be as useful in addition to a finished drawing. A drawing can be of a given subject or abstract such as diagrammatic representations of textures or shapes. Drawings are used for different things, for design ideas, for quick reference, to communicate an idea where verbal clues would be difficult (a plan, diagram etc). Draw for yourself for personal use. This is my 20 point guide:
- Make drawings regularly. Once a day if possible, to keep your eye in.
- In absence of paint/colouring implements keep extra notes of the colours and feelings about what you were seeing.
- Sometimes draw the underlying structure that cannot be seen to enable it to be reconstructed later. Many artists draw bone structures to be aware of how the underlying structure reads in the human body.
- In 'Objective Drawing', draw only what can be seen, not what you think is there.
- Every mark you make must mean something. Choose a mark which best represents what you see.
- Vary marks in thickness and density.
- Look at everything as though for the first time. Trust your eyes. Have visual curiosity, see rather than look.
- Don't see anything without its background and the spaces between objects, buildings etc
- Every line should mean something and should continue into nothing. It should describe a shape or lead the eye elsewhere.
- Experiment with different methods of making marks.
- Everything has a relative tone value (darkness and lightness)
- Nothing makes sense until what is beside it is put down. White paper can appear as holes if not considered as part of the space on the paper..
- Draw in the direction of growth (follow the lines of branches, fur etc )
- Try various mediums, eg. charcoal, crayon, pencil, cont— crayon, chalk, ink.
- Use good quality paper where possible but also experiment. Brown paper can be a good surface
- Keep even scrappy notes for future us. It sometimes helps to draw on coloured paper.
- Refine and extract shapes later to make a design.
- Make a view finder. It helps to isolate interesting parts/view which worked on later for a project/design.
- Be prepared to 'play'. Try drawing with charcoal on the end of a stick to help improved control in the arm. Draw without looking at the paper. Make a drawing without taking your pen off the paper.
- Finally, stop worrying if the drawing is 'good enough' or what others may think. You are drawing for your own reference, it is only for you and a reflection of your though processes. I could just about bear to lose a piece of work...but a sketchbook is another thing!
Visit Cas Holmes website here to see more of her work
Learn more about the sketchbook challenge here