The Significance of Sketchbooks (and the art of Peeling Eyes)

Ever since the famous Heather Layton burdened her Intro Painting class with her famous Sketchbook assignment, I've been growing a sort of obsession with the media. The assignment was to buy a sketchbook, and fill it up. No more rules.

I didn't add to it everyday so you can imagine by the end of the semester I had quite a bit of work to do. But I loved the assignment because at the end, I had my whole semester in my hands. I could see what I was thinking about and how I developed over a few months.

When I went to Germany last fall I knew if I wasn't drawing everyday, my artistic prowess (what?) would diminish significantly. So I created an assignment for myself: I bought a sketchbook and I had to fill it. But this time, I would have to make an entry everyday.

I called it a sketchbook journal and it was HARD. Sometimes I slipped or didn't feel like making anything, sometimes I spat out masterpieces. The point is, I'm so glad I did it. I'm going to remember my experience studying abroad so much more vividly with the help of this little book.

So what makes a sketchbook different from a piece of paper or several pieces of paper? I think there really is a significance to the idea of a book-- it has a connotation of something educational, something that informs us-- something that tells a story.

The fact that it's bound is also important, giving us the feeling that this all goes together somehow.
  I've known about artist James Jean for awhile, but I dug him up again during my inspiration from sketchbooks. A talented painter, Jean also has an extensive collection of moleskins and sketchbooks which are archived on his website, and I encourage you to take a look. His rendition of the human figure is fantastic.

I hope to explore the power of the sketchbook more this year, so keep your eyes peeled.

(Who came up with that expression? Gross.)

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