A sketchbook is a creative tool

Your sketchbook is an essential creative tool. I was trained to use a sketchbook, and I have used one all my life. I meet many creative types who never have learned how to draw, let alone work in a sketchbook.

Copying photographs isn’t art

Most people I meet these days rely solely on photographic images as a source for their paintings and drawings. I believe this kind of painting reflects a lack of proper training and an inadequate level of art education. Anyone serious about painting already knows that there is nothing creative in copying photographs. There is nothing “artistic” in this kind of painting process.

Take your art seriously

Serious artists know that the first step in painting starts in the sketchbook and proceeds into drawing, then into colour studies and finally, after some trial and error, into the final painting. This is a time-proven process, and it works. As a young art student, I was told that the sketchbook is not about creating art; it is about working with ideas. A sketchbook can consist of sketches, notes, reference images, magazine clippings, dried flowers and anything else that captures your imagination.

Use your imagination

Yes, folks, I used the word imagination. True art is not about how well we copy the photograph but about something greater and far more interesting. A sketchbook allows the artist to quickly capture their subject efficiently, which can be used as a reference in later work.

Finding that balance

Of course, I am not saying that a photograph cannot be used as a departure point for your idea. It should only be used in the development stages and be put away once your idea has been solidified in your sketchbook. It would be best not to use it in your final drawings either.

Why not to use a photograph

Heavy reliance on photographs causes your drawings and paintings to look flat and without depth. The finished drawings or paintings are without depth and really uninteresting to look at. This is why serious artists always try and work from life in any project, from the initial sketch to the final painting.

The sketchbook is where you dream up your creative journey!

Quote of the day

“Mostly, drawings are things I make for myself – I do them in sketchbooks. They are mental experiments – private inner thoughts when I’m not sure what will come out.”

~ Sigmar Polke ~

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