Wednesday, November 9, 2011

special guest sketchbook profile: Kim Rae Nugent

Kim Rae Nugent  is a mixed-media artist/teacher from Fredonia, Wisconsin who enjoys sharing her passion of the creative process. She has spent her life cultivating her skills in collage, oil painting, sculpture, sewing, altered books and assemblage, often cross pollinating mediums for unique and exciting projects. Her love of nature and animals is often reflected in her art. She believes that it doesn’t take a degree or a style of realism to be an artist, only a desire, and wishes to instill that belief in her students.

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
I have kept some sort of a sketchbook since the time I could write and draw. I feel compelled to record my thoughts, experiences and ideas. My thoughts often seem insignificant and boring to me when I am writing them down, but they capture a moment in time. I am always delighted to reread older journals, they give me forgotten insight into what I was thinking and what was going on in my life at a particular time. My sketchbook is something I do for myself.  I use my everyday sketchbook for several purposes: It is a place to experiment with new art techniques: I like to record quotes that I find inspiring and draw an image to go with the quote or vice versa; I particularily like to record the steps in making and what I am thinking while creating a piece of art. The research of an art project is an important part of the process for me. Sometimes I simply draw in my sketchbook to keep in practice.
 My journaling tends to be sporadic. Sometimes I sketch everyday or even multiple entries in one day. Other times I don't journal for weeks. I tend to feel more organized and complete when I journal on a regular basis. Journaling gives me a sense of accomplishment, helps me focus, prioratize, and declutter my brain.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I tend to have several sketchbooks going at once. Only recently, in the past few years have I been able to mainly focus on one journal at a time that I call my everyday journal. They take about six months to 1 year to complete. I have found such satisfaction in completely filling a journal. I also like to make event journals. Just recently I completed a tiny 4" x 3" journal of a 10 day road trip that my husband and I went on to Idaho. The 72 pages, although tiny proved to be a daunting task. This journal comprised everything artful that I  created in 20 days. I also have made a retreat sketchbooks that hold everything possible from the retreat including trades, ephemera an baubles from the event.
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 found that I prefer to make my own journals by tearing down sheets of 140lb cold press paper and binding them with a coptic stitch. I prefer the coptic stitch for it's beauty and the sketchbooks ability to lie open flat. I like the challenge of working in a variety of sizes for different projects but my favorite size lately to work in for my everyday journal is about 6" x 8".  My prefered medium is whatever catches my fancy for the day. The 140lb cold press watercolor paper accepts almost any media. I also like to glue in tracing paper for different layers.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin? 
I would suggest finding a spiral bound sketchbook that can lie open flat and has heavy watercolor paper enabling you to try any medium. Find a simple technique that you would like to try and just start. Classes or groups such as this one is also a wonderful way to jump start your journey into sketchbooks.  Also don't give in to poor experiences from school days. I have found that tasks that seemed impossible when I was younger are much easier just from combined life experiences. The only way to improve is through practice. Embrace beginning sketchbook pages to go back to and see just how far you have progressed in your artful journey.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Sketchbooks are a wonderful way to organize your thoughts, ideas and artistic experiments in one place, rather than a pile of loose drawings and notes. I have found my journal to be an extension or starting point to my other art.


  1. Kim is one of the most talented artists I have ever met. She works in many mediums, and masters them all with her creativity and craftsmanship.
    She is also a wonderfully kind friend, and for those reasons was one of the contributors in my book.

    Check out her blog, you will be impressed!

  2. I LOVE the sketchbook Challenge (though I haven't participated as much as I wanted!). It's wonderful to see so many different ways to sketch and journal ... so, I've given you the Liebster "favorite" Blog award ... I food blog, but wanted all my readers so see your cool place here ...

  3. I was fortunate to get the chance to take Kim's Interactive Art Journal workshop this summer and to see her journals in person. She's a great inspiration!