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Sketchbooks Are Stupid

Believe it or not, for years I had convinced myself that sketchbooks were a terrible idea: full of rushed work, poor doodles, useless fragments. In my mind, it was a waste of time to work in a sketchbook when one could work on a finished piece.

Fortunately, studio practice and instructional practice inform each other in my life, and in this case, my teaching really began to have an impact on this preconceived notion against sketchbooks. I found myself telling students to store ideas, practice without the fear of presentation, experiment, record notes, etc. And I noticed an odd trend taking over YouTube and social media: the sketchbook tour. To see people like Kim Jung Gi, Caesar Santos, and, of course, James Gurney constantly filling book after book, I saw the untapped potential of more routine practice in my life.

Last time, I shared my "Style September" sketchbook. Recently, I also filled another watercolor sketchbook with paintings in casein and gouache (two sketchbooks?! That's unheard of for me!). It all started in the blistering heat of summer, and I just wrapped up the other evening. Not many of them are good at all, but the habit of constantly looking and working has been very fun. I look forward to learning more as I paint and filling many more sketchbooks in the future.

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