, , , , , , , ,

I don’t know whether I have shared this with you before but the degree that I have just completed is my first ever art course. I was discouraged from doing any practical subjects in school, instead ushered towards the more academic subjects. The same followed through for college, then I got a job, got made redundant so decided to go back to school. I knew that I loved to make things, have done since I was small so it seemed to be a logical leap to start an art course. I didn’t want to start with GCSE’s and A levels again so I applied straight to Uni and got accepted.  You might ask what this has to do with the title…

You see I purposely chose to do a course that was a practical, making course only. I knew I could draw cartoon type stuff but stupidly assumed that because I couldn’t draw photo realism type stuff or had formal training I had no drawing skills. What’s more I didn’t want to draw, I just wanted to make things … but then I did something that changed everything. I took part in an Erasmus scheme and headed to Bulgaria for 3 months. Whilst there I learnt lots of new things, but I was also made to do the one thing that I hated … Draw. I had life drawing classes on 2 days a week, drawing for a good few hours at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to say I stood in the lesson and saw the light, the error of my ways and decided to draw all the things from this point on … erm, no. I bitched and whinged and moaned and glared at the teacher … a lot … but after coming home I realised that forcing me into that situation had made my drawing skills a lot better.  I learnt to appreciate my style of drawing, it’s not perfect, I’m not Da Vinci (whose anatomy drawings I adore and would kill to be able to have a 10th of that skill) but I can do something that looks like the object I’m trying to recreate.

2012-11-30 14.19.47JPEG Image (859769)


Now back to sketch books … I can safely say that at assessment time, before Bulgaria, my sketchbooks consisted of a few squiggles on an all but empty book. I had no confidence to put my idea’s on paper because I couldn’t meet what I expected to be perfect. Instead I used to make maquettes or mock up’s of my design out of paper. These could be quite elaborate made out of paper, wire or copper …

5128391147_ec35bb06da5084297344_b14747cec6 8416654529_563422d156

I also take photo’s of what I have as a starting point and then alter them with tippex or markers to get the design I want. In these examples; the first is a resin block that I want to put a silver frame on, the tippex line shows where the silver could possibly go. The second picture is one I took when I was looking at distortion, I place a glass plate over Greys Anatomy pictures and then sprayed water and oil on top.

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

I still use both of these methods but I tend to use my sketchbook first. I sketch, then do the photo thing, then do the maquette, then I make. This helps me to hopefully have a well thought out design at the end, as the processes normally help me to work out any of the kinks that can happen when designing.

root scans1 root scans mold cape designs5

The point is now that I have realised that my work doesn’t have to be perfect I am creating much better sketchbooks that are a lot more informed … and, well, I quite like drawing in them. They create an accurate record of what I was thinking at them time, what idea’s I had and create a little cache of idea’s for future use.

What is your view on sketchbooks? Do you use them for designing or do you use an entirely different process?