Tracie Lyn Huskamp is the author of Nature Inspired: Mixed-Media Techniques for Gathering, Sketching, Painting, Journaling, and Assemblage. Her beautiful new fabric line "Nature Inspired" by Windham Fabrics is due to arrive at stores in January 2011.
Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
A sketchbook, for me, feels much like a diary. Keeping a diary was something I tried over and over to do as a child with little success, mostly because I felt my words were uninteresting. But sketchbooking/art journaling has been an incredible activity as it combines both images and words into a visual tapestry, recording the days of my life by capturing both significant and daily events. I work in my sketchbooks somewhat sporadically, but would love to carve out more time for this activity.
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once and 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 have two distinct styles of sketching. Most often I am compelled to paint my visions using acrylic paints and muslin canvas. These pieces may be loose, framed, or bound. If bound, I might adhere them to pieces of 300 lb watercolor paper before adding them to a handmade journal or meticulously cut subjects out to adhere to vintage ledger pages.
However, sometimes I love working more loose and abstract, by using Prismacolor NuPastels on brown packing paper. I purchase spiral bound brown packing paper journals from a local printing company. My Pastel art pages are less defined and more about using color to convey my thoughts, feelings.
I almost always sketch at home. Occasionally, I do try and art journal on the road, carrying with me a compact journal kit consisting of a small watercolor journal ( I prefer 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" size Trave.e.logue Hand.book by Global Art Materials) or a small Moleskine journal, mechanical pencil, black Sharpie pen, paintbrush and either travel size watercolors or a few Lyra Aquacolor crayons.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Take a workshop. I think this is one of the best ways to begin the introduction process of sketching and keeping a journal. You have the benefit of working with an instructor who has experience, you can ask questions, bounce ideas off the teacher or other students, and a class setting gives you the chance to explore the process and make mistakes.
Anything else you'd like to add?
The beginning of a sketch page comes from the spark of an experience. I then weave this inspiration into both artistic images and poetry/prose. Often times, I have my camera in hand or close by, ready to snap a photo of a particular scene that moves me. This photo serves as only a small start in the development cycle. After capturing the setting, I try, almost immediately, to jot down words to articulate my feelings. I don't censor my writing or try to form my words into coherent sentences or phrases at this point. Instead, I use them as reference when I am in my studio, as I create and bring the page to life.
Visit Tracie's website here to see more of her work
Find out more about the Sketchbook Challenge here