Friday, September 9, 2011

tossing out the old sketchbooks

I had several old sketchbooks from middle school and high school that have seen better days. Particularly one that the dog ate:


However clutter is clutter and it’s time for them to be tossed out. Going back through them, I can remember the different things I learned and little milestones I’d hit along the way.  Sometimes I think about how I can translate art to a child's perspective  and my little trip down memory lane made me recall some things. 

This little watercolor for instance, was the first time I remember realizing the impact of color. It’s from 7th grade, and it’s completely unoriginal composition was stolen from one of those “learn to paint” books. I saw the picture on the cover and I was like “whoa, that’s bright. why do I like that?” and I narrowed it down to the fact that the orange looked so bold against grey. ( an example of my extreme intelligence ladies and gentlemen). I feel like there’s a great art assignment waiting to happen for a“warm versus cool colors” project. Maybe I’ll use it on my kids one day.


Right before 8th grade I decided that I would keep a sketchbook and try to draw every day. I failed pretty quickly at the “everyday part” but I drew enough by the end of summer to fill up half a book. That was something right? Dad would always tell me that if I wanted to get good at something, I’d have to work at it everyday. Discipline is the difference between lousy work and good work. I frequently didn’t know what to draw but I had a lot of books full of animals. I’m afraid it only fueled my obsession for furry critters.


My mom bought me my Prismacolor pencils that year and I started studying faces from makeup ad’s in magazines. Prismacolor pencils are like magic. I felt so special working with expensive art supplies. They are creamy and blend so wonderfully with a colorless blender.


Freshmen year of high school I took art class as my elective (of course) so we had to keep a sketchbook for a grade. Like any other high school student, homework was homework and it became a chore to do it, but I loved that we had “assignments” with freedom. He would give us a theme and let us make up something to go with it. For example:







“four objects”


and ect.



I’m a firm believer in that the arts feed themselves. Good art inspires more art. Good literature can inspire a multitude of the arts: illustration, music, movement ect.  A moving song makes you want to paint something. A good dance makes you want to write a song for the rhythm. It’s one big circle ( Insert screeching singing of  “The ciirrcllee of liiiifeee!” ) (( which by the way did you know that the Lion King is going to be in the theatre again!?))

That spiel explains why I drew so many Lord of the Rings related things in my sketchbook. I was thoroughly and undeniably obsessed, not only by the story but by the WETA crew and their amazing work on the props and costumes in the movies. In fact if the WETA group in new Zealand allowed Americans to be on their team, it would be my life’s goal to work for them. (FYI New Zealand is pretty picky about immigration and working VISAS).

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The freedom to scribble. Somewhere along the way, the sketchbook wasn’t just for school; it was for me and just me (wow, does that sound selfish!). What I mean is, I no longer was concerned with exactness. I wanted to push the form beyond reality. That’s the basis for abstract art even though I don’t consider myself an abstract thought. I also began to look at images and the context, memories, thoughts they bring with them. How does color affect a mood?  How can art have a purpose, teach, or say something? The freedom to scribble is all about relaxing your ideas of perfection to take your ideas farther: the creative workspace.

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Back to the basics: cartooning and illustration. To conclude my long drawn out post (which basically was just to serve as a final reminiscent farewell) cartooning always pops in and out of these sketchbooks. I can’t seem to live without it. I think the simplicity of it is really appealing.  It may just be a theme, but I think I’ve realized that it’s a form of reflection for me.

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That last scribble was an idea I had for a children's book : The Vampire Cupcake (followed closely behind by the vampire sock puppet, and vampire bird). It would be a saga of love with sappy descriptions and repetitive words (No, I wasn’t making fun of Twilight, no not at all!) (( Okay okay fine, I’ll admit it, I hate Twilight with a passion)).


It’s really over now!!! That might have been the longest post ever.

I now relieve your finger from relentless scrolling.

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