Simple, fancy, handmade, store-bought...it's personal.
As mentioned in Tip 1 - A sketchbook is YOUR treasure box of future masterpieces. It can be a simple notebook, a binder with loose-leaf pages, a fancy, schmancy crafted one because you are an excellent craft artist, or you are obsessed with the dollar store and bought one for 99 cents, which will suit you fine.
It's personal, so make it your own by decorating the cover. Remember, it’s your visual diary. Writers like to write their thoughts, and Sketch Artists like to draw them. If you use a tablet and regularly back up your work to a cloud drive or USB, there is nothing more disappointing than losing your precious digital masterpieces. So, may I humbly suggest that old-school pencil-to-paper is the way to go. There is something liberating and really therapeutic when you force your mind to connect with what the pencil is laying out before your very eyes.
Mine have morphed over time. They have, for the most part, been store-bought, within my budget, $1 to $15 USD, small 4x6 to 11x17 hardcover. In retrospect, it reflected the creative phase I was working with then. At one point, I was into brainstorming by cutting out pictures and words from magazines and CD covers, similar to what people do with Vision Boards. Today, I like my sketchbook to be as portable as my smartphone. On the go, easy to quickly open and doodle in an idea or an inspiration you weren't expecting at that moment.
I want this two-word expression to hit home. For the longest time, I falsely believed that an artist's sketchbook had to be perfect; what I mean by that was it had to be loaded with colors or detailed thumbnails; There's an oxymoron for you. Every single page had to be filled with something, preferably a eureka moment idea that would each and every time turn into a masterpiece. But no, it is your space to literally express yourself, work with ideas, or vent them out. Build something, and then scratch it out for something else. What I love about taking it personal is that my doodles, sketches and keywords are codes, my own language absolutely NO ONE can decipher. And nobody can casually look over my shoulder and watch me as I work or think it's free to pick up and flip through. Keeping a sketchbook has taught me the importance of setting clear boundaries with people. I have come to the understanding that this is a blessing just for me to cherish and learn from; not everything has to be shared, and the creative process is so intimate and fragile, especially at its beginning stages or if it's fueled by an experience that marked the artist, it MUST be kept safe, protected and sacred.
So enjoy the shopping spree or the building phase of your sketchbook; through the years, you will have a corner somewhere where, at times, you will flip through your old ones and remember who you were, who you are and who you are becoming as an illustrator.
If my art inspires you, check out my art smacked on some nice little spiral notebook turned awesome sketchbook.
or CREATE your own! And share on our online community on Facebook.
As always, Color, Connect and Share...Compassion.