I don’t often share my gushing over other artists, because there are just so many amazing contemporary artists to ooh and aah over… but when someone’s work literally renders me speechless, I consider it to be share-worthy. I have a massive girl crush on French painter Charlotte Caron and her series of incredible hybrid portraits! “This series of paintings, photographs, are trying to respond to a form of duality… ultimately creating an osmosis between the two mediums, between the animal and the portrait.” Such a beautiful idea and so gorgeously executed.
As I mentioned yesterday, I am hoping to become much better friends with my sketchbook in 2013. There is something to be said about collecting thoughts, visuals, ephemera, and ideas between pretty, patterned and colorful bound pages. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but sketchbooking regularly can help things surface in your work and make them more obvious: trends, themes, subconscious thoughts, exploration, successes, failures, starting points, etc. I wanted to share a bunch of ways to make sketchbooking easy, approachable and fun, because you can do so much more than just draw in your sketchbook! Get messy: paint, draw, scribble, tape, scratch, even cut! Gone are the days where you should worry about marker bleed-through, or squishing paint over the edges of the page: sometimes those ghost images from previous pages can help inspire your next creation. Have you ever heard of “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith? Essentially each page has a prompt to get you instantly making and creating, instead of being intimidated by the blank page. For those looking to go on a creative sketchbooking adventure with NO limitations, you should pick this one up, or check out this Flickr group where people share their finished “wrecked” pages. Slap it on there: collage, attach, tape, glue, or tuck in little bits of memorabilia. As someone who loves to look at visual clutter for inspiration (have you seen my studio walls?) it makes sense to create little visual collections in a sketchbook as well; there just aren’t enough walls to hang up all the awesome paper ephemera I come across. Add in colored/textured/patterned papers, tape down a cool image, glue in bits and bobs, slap on a sticker or stamp, etc. Adding any or all of these things creates visual interest, layers and texture, and can also be inspiration for mixed media layers, or an adjacent page. A person who never turns a book page without adding a little ephemera or a line of washi tape to it, is my pal Zie Campbell who loves to do Smashbooking (just like a sketchbook with a scrapbooking twist). Just Doodle: no one said it has to instantly be a masterpiece! One of the greatest things about a sketchbook is that there shouldn’t be any expectations. You aren’t drawing on a fancy rag paper, or an expensive canvas… it’s just ONE page of a big book, so don’t be scared! Just doodle from your mind, draw a quick silly cartoon, sketch from a photograph, or go for a walk and draw your surroundings. It may be one of the best drawings you ever make (amazing things happen when there are no expectations or pressure), or if your drawing turns out poorly and you’re unhappy with it, it can easily be covered with paints or collage so that you can start a new image with a fresh approach (like above). My friend Ella Masters always makes my heart melt with her adorable little sketchbook illustrations. She usually just explores using graphite with subtle splashes of watercolor or colored pencil, and her doodles often stem as inspiration her larger creations/bodies of work, like her recent series of bearded/tattooed men.
I hope my new sketchbook pages, the few of the artists I’ve shared, and the three media tips help get you exploring and doodling with me! It feels good to have a renewed dedication to an artistic outlet I have always enjoyed. I’ll make sure to continue sharing my progress in the New Year, along with other art techniques, and be sure to share yours as well (either with a link in the comments below or e-mail me).
And so I’ll end this post with one hand waving goodbye to 2012, and the other holding a sketchbook for 2013.
I did a little happy dance when I went to the postbox today to discover an envelope from Maryland sent by Anika Starmer (@aisforanika). Yes, I was excited to get an envelope of treats from a good friend, but I was more so thrilled because I knew our current collaborative sketchbook projects were concealed inside. To catch my new readers up: I initiated this project patterns & paws for the two of us about a year and a half ago now. The idea started to blossom 3 years ago when I drew the filigree deer in my first Art House Sketchbook Project that I started in late summer 2009. The concept evolved further when I finished my “animal patterns” series of moleskine notebooks and continued with my Sketchbook Project the following year. I was thrilled to see the interaction of animals with pattern; so with my love of paws and with Anika’s love of patterns, I thought our work would be a great way to continue this initial idea of mine. The first post I wrote about this collaboration includes the specifics of the project while the following four posts here, here, here and here, chronicle the additions as the two sketchbooks have progressed. Essentially we create diptychs (she draws on the left, I draw on the right) as well as 2 page spreads where we create on both pages. I am thrilled to share Anika’s fantastic new additions to the project and I’m stoked to have them back in Canada so that I can add some pretty little paws to her patterned pages. I already have ideas churning in my head about what to add to her awesome markmaking, so stay tuned to see what I contribute to these pages. It has been so incredible to watch this project evolve and grow and I value our friendship so much, because we foster it with such great art and creativity! Do you love the new pages? And if this is your first time seeing patterns & paws, what do you think of the project?! Comments are always appreciated! Thanks for reading :)