Why bother to use a sketchbook? – Works in development versus a record of travel and experience.

Every artist should ask themselves “Why use a sketchbook?” Is it as:

– a memory jogger, a working tool to aid the creative process?

– a nostalgic record which allows you to recall happy times?

– a means to experiment with a new media?

– a workhorse, with great swaths of pencil/ink showing the finer nuances of you creative process?

– a handy means to keep all you paintings in one place?

How you use a sketchpad depends on your answer to these and other questions. In many ways it is easier to just take a photograph! There are many transient moments that can only be recorded by a photograph. But a sketch is more personal, more intimate. It bestows some of the character of the artist in ways a photograph cannot.

In the past two days I’ve produced 2 sketches. This one last night during “Earth Hour”.

Earth hour

I had some time – about 20 minutes – enough to achieve a level of completion, however flawed I might feel it is.


The second was a five minute creation while I was standing waiting for my children to go on a ride at Legoland in Windsor. I had to stop before it was anywhere near “completion” However it still had value as a thumbnail sketch. On this occasion I also took a photograph. Which is a backup practice many artist’s now use. But I still have this sketch. I took many photographs today. I may not remember all the details surrounding them in months to come. But this sketch is carved in my memory in a way no photograph can or will ever be! So yes, it may be incomplete, but it has so much more value than the corresponding photograph.

So why do you use a sketchbook?


About CathyReadArt

Artist creating abstract art using mixed media. I believe there should be beauty in art, but sometimes it takes an artist to show others what is truly beautiful.
This entry was posted in Musings, sketchbook studies. Bookmark the permalink.

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