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Monday, 20 January 2014

Call it a Day Book or Ideas Book, but not a Sketchbook


…Sketch? book page, Gareth Sleightholme

"The creatives' notepad, journal, field book or sketchbook is something so invaluable and an integral part of the fabric of the practicing illustrator/designer/creative that it must be encouraged in students.
Students, however, often tend to be terrified and cowed by the thought of it, believing that every mark made by their pen must have value (as they weigh it) and be part of a well-received and finished piece of work.
This of course is not true. It is just another of the varied and unhelpful myths carried amongst the debilitating baggage of the young creative.
The sketchbook is the gym for observation, a workshop for the creatives mind, space to spread out and bang nails into ideas and prize problems apart to look at their innards, and as an experimental place, some elements of it can therefore record failures.
And they should.
Failure is part of the design and personal development process
With this idea of recording failure added to the fear of making marks that do not meet the high standards of the students ambition, is it any wonder that the word “sketchbook” causes the range of reactions from incredulity (“You want me to do HOW MANY thumbnail drawings?!!”) to cognitive dissonance (“Yes, well I don’t really believe in sketching, I like to do the final detailed images first”) and back again.
We can, though, remove some of that fear and perhaps encourage the utilisation of this centuries old artistic and creative tool by simply removing the terrifying word “Sketch” (this alone seems to be enough to conjure up vague traumatising imagery related to the chalk and metal point works of various Dutch and Renaissance masters that they feel they must measure themselves against).
Instead we might call it a “Day-book”, the only threat to self included in that title being the notion perhaps, that it must be used… every day."
Gareth Sleightholme 

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