From a very young age I have sketched and painted - I think I must have been born with a pencil in my hand (definitely not a silver spoon!). I left school having completed a Secretarial course, but painting has always been a part of my life and I can't imagine life without it. I am self taught through and through.
How has the sketchbook challenge influenced your sketchbook keeping practice?
Well, it has influenced me loads. The word 'challenge' for a start is enough to set me going. I love the challenge of having to think things through, experiment and explore. It has meant that I have put more work into my sketchbooks and put far more online than if it hadn't been for Sketchbook Challenge.
Tell me how you're approaching each challenge - do you jump right in and start sketching as soon as the new challenge word is posted or do you reflect on it first?
I have found I reflect on the word. One challenge did find me getting my pen and doodling a few ideas straight away, that was 'spilling over'. But with the other challenges I have tended to sit back and have a think for a while. Then, as we all find in our every day lives, the things we tend to do, looking after our home, shopping, socialising etc. there would be moments of total inspiration......I would have the eureka moment and that would be the start of it. Off I go. Sometimes I can't get the ideas down quick enough. There you are....moments I would not have had if it had not been for Sketchbook Challenge.
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I do work in one at a time. Although there are several more at the back of my brain 'in the waiting room' so to speak. Sometimes they don't work out though, what has been a good idea just does not work on paper. Yes, I do designate work to the 'throw away pile', I expect most of us do. But that makes me want to re-do a piece of work, find out where it went wrong and why.
What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet, spiral bound etc?) and have you found your preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?
I think my preferred format certainly for sketching is my moleskin sketchbook. The paper quality is lovely in terms of a sketchbook, taking pen and watercolour with equal acceptance, no fuss, perfect. I find I have trouble with spiral sketchbooks, I end up with the spiral getting all twisted up the wrong way! I have been known to paste watercolour paper in these books, that way I have a nice surface to paint on. But, I would say, a close second is watercolour paper, blocks or pads. The gummed are best as the paper doesn't buckle. At the moment I'm using Langton 140lb acid free, the sheets are 20" x 16", plenty big enough for a large watercolour or sketch, but also ideal for several small sketches on one sheet - very economical. Watercolours are my first choice, then oil followed by acrylics.
Anything else you'd like to add?
My heartfelt thanks go to you all at Sketchbook Challenge. Not only has it encouraged my thinking and skills but has opened up a world of other artists to me. It's great to get the feedback from others and to visit their websites and blogs.