Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sketchbook profile: Sue Bleiweiss

 A lifelong resident of Massachusetts, Sue Bleiweiss has been a full time artist for over 10 years.  Self-taught, her medium of choice is fiber and she is particularly fond of working with silk. 

"I am fascinated with the challenge of creating texture both real and implied to a piece of fabric by using dyes, paints, and stitch to manipulate the surface of  the fabric.  My goal has never been to create a perfect and flawless surface. It is to create something that delights the eye, feeds the senses and fires the imagination."  Read more...

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
I use my sketchbook as a creative dumping ground.  I use it as a place to jot down notes and rough sketches about pieces that I want to create, brainstorm themes and ideas I want to explore.  My drawing skills are not very good (because I don't practice!) so my sketchbooks are mostly filled with words in the form of lists, mind mapping, notes and the occasional doodle.  It's also where I keep my to do list so I open it every day to check in and see what I need to do. 

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I have one primary one that stays on the table next to my favorite chair where I sit and have my coffee in the morning and in the afternoon.  I also keep one in the studio for jotting down notes about whatever I happen to be working on and as a place to record those "what if" moments that come when I'm working with a technique that I want to explore further when it's more convenient.  I also keep a small notebook that's just for recording quotes and sayings that inspire or invoke an emotional response that I want to remember.

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 prefer a spiral bound book because I like them to lay flat when they're open and I do prefer a book with a heavier weight paper because they're sturdy enough for collage and I don't have to worry about paint bleeding through the pages .  In general I like to write with a felt tip pen either a Micron or a Pilot and I also keep a supply of mechanical pencils on hand because I hate working with a dull pencil and I can never find the pencil sharpener when I need it.  I also have a stash of Zig markers and I really like the Pilot Parallel Pens so I have a couple of those in different sizes.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
All you really need to get started is two things - paper and something to make a mark on the paper with.   It's easy to get overwhelmed and seduced by all those fancy pens, crayons, markers, paints, chalks, pencils and blank books in the art supply stores and when you're getting started have a huge selection of supplies in front of you to choose from can be paralyzing.  Start small and pick yourself up a reasonably sized book.  Don't buy the biggest, thickest one you can find because those big white pages will seem glacial to you when you sit down in front of them.  If you don't want to draw or write on the page then cut images out of a magazine and create a collage of images or colors that you like.  It's your sketchbook and you can do anything you like in it - there are no rules!

Anything else you'd like to add?
I hear a lot of people say that they have a stack of beautiful blank books and journals that they won't write in because they're afraid they'll mess them up.  If this is the case for you then I say just don't write on the cover!  Keep the outside nice and pretty but go ahead and mess up those insides, that's what they're meant for.  If the white pages are just too intimidating then grab a stack of paints and a brush and add some simple color washes to the page to get started like Lyric has in her sketchbook here.   

The most important advice I can offer is this: Life is too short to stress about creating the perfect sketchbook page so don't take it too seriously and have fun with it!

Visit Sue's website here to see more of her work.

Get all the details on the Sketchbook Challenge here.

1 comment:

  1. I see I've had an image of what a sketchbook looks like. Now I find that I've had various ones as I've kept scribblers, diaries, note pads, slips of paper for years. I've just not been diligent to collect, organize and follow thru. Thanks Sue for this challenge. I'm all set to go and grow!


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