Back in January I made two new years resolutions. One start exercising and loose some weight. The other was to keep a sketchbook again. I've done really well so far with the first. That part hasn't been that hard to do. I just get out of bed earlier and use the gym at work. I don't know if I've lost any wight, but I have found that I have a lot more energy. This really helps when it comes to playing with and taking care of my daughter. The second resolution has been a lot harder for me.
I've gotten really bad about keeping a sketchbook since leaving school. I know how important it is to have one, so that's why I'm trying to get back into it. First I went out and bought myself a new sketchbook, I bought my favorite kind. I like the hard cover black ones with the elastic band that keeps it closed, and the silk bookmark to keep your place. I like my paper to have some tooth to it as well, I can't stand smooth sketchbooks. I still have that sketchbook, it's still as clean today as the day I bought it. It's so nice, and I'm so rusty I just can't bring myself to draw in it.
So I went and bought myself a second sketchbook, this one was one of those spiral bound books with the cardboard cover. A lot less fancy, but also a lot less intimidating. Apparently it's not un-intimidating enough, the only thing I've found I can use it for it shopping lists and phone numbers with the occasional doodle. Again I'm so rusty that I'm intimidated by the book.
Now I've finally resorted to steeling a 3-ring binder and some 3-ring paper from the copy room. So far, that seems to work for me. If you find the right kind of binder, with the rings on one side, not in the back, you can flip the cover over and use the angle like a drawing desk. The price of the book, the fact that it looks a lot less like a sketchbook and the fact that I can take out/put in paper as much as I want to makes me not so intimidated. Plus I can take it out in public and draw people with a lot more ease. I think it looks like I'm working on something important like a script or my taxes, this way people don't think I'm drawing them. There's noting like a sketchbook to bring attention to yourself.
I've started to call it my rust remover. I'm using it to get all the rust out of my drawings so that when I get my confidence back I can go back to that fancy black sketchbook with the silk bookmark and draw for real again! At least that's what I've been telling myself.
A couple sketchbook resources I've found on the web:
A lot of drawing books teach you drawing tricks, like start with the head, use crosshairs, or the line of action, end with the feet. These tricks are great for when you are first starting out, you tend to loose them as you develop your own style. Walt Stanchfield was the life drawing instructor for Disney's studio. He was also really good for breaking people out of their drawing tricks. He really pushed the idea of really observing people and start with what's important to the pose. He left behind a series of notes. The notes are hard to find but the website Animation Meat has a few of them for download:
Everyday Mattersis Danny Gregory's weblog. He keeps a lot of his sketchbook notes on his blog. Mostly I find his blog it to be an inspiring website to look at. I don't believe in keeping an “animation only” sketchbook. There's more to life then just gesture drawing and it's not good to keep yourself in such a wedge. I find this website to be a big inspiration for keeping a sketchbooks in genral. If anyone knows of more sketchbook blogs I'd love to hear about them.