Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why ♥ your Sketchbook!

Today you get the very uninteresting post.
But sometimes I still get questions about how I do this and that.

My answer always start with: first of all you need space, a messy one!
The only thing this picture is missing is my green mug with coffee in it.

It is very important to keep sketchbook. Having scraps of papers and drawing flying around always results in two things: loss/damage of the piece; inability to place them in time and space (that is determine when you drew that and put your art in chronological order).

Proper storage of ideas is the other most fundamental reason to keep a proper sketchbook.
So let's say for example it's 1989 and you come up  with a story about pirates... you write different versions then you store them away and move onto different things, you end up working abroad, in big studios... then one day you find the original story and thing: I do now have a thesis and themes I want to talk about that could apply to this story.

A stored idea is never thrown away, it is simply store. If your idea does not work now that doesn't mean you have to throw it away... it means you will be able to tell the story in the future. But for now, if simply isn't going anywhere, you have to put it in the attic and move onto a different topic. 20 years of professional experience will do the rest.

I have... 25 sketchbooks, more or less that span from 1999 to today. Before that I had flying pieces of paper and it's hard to find them.

I keep sketchbooks of different sizes because I like to carry them around with me.
For instance, currently, I have two small sizes sketchbooks: one has good paper in it, for watercolor, the other one is for sketching.

Yesterday I went out to do some Christmas shopping and I stop at the Toast Box for an afternoon break. That's where I sat down and drew the final 3 drawings for the 2012 calendar.

Now about the calendar drawings... you can see that I sketch them first in blue or green non-photo blue pencil. Then go over it with 2b graphite.

That's because after that I would photocopy the drawing and the constructions green/blue pencil line disappear (that's why they are called non photo pencils).

After that I go over the photocopy with a ball point pen to darken and thicken the outlines.
Creating a variation of thick and thin that makes the whole thing more appealing.

Then I make a second photocopy (putting more than one drawing in the same page) and I color that one with copic markers and ciao markers (I like the brush like tip, it allows me to do gradation and and give a painterly quality to some of my surfaces).

After that I use Derwent colorusoft to render on top of the markers.
Unfortunately the scanned drawings don't look anything like the originals. That's because scanners are reflective and they tend to bend the colors.

That's why I think I'll use the photostudio in school to take photos of the finished illustration to use them in the calendar.

Eventually all the processes are cut out and glued into my sketchbook. Now this current sketchbook is made of very expensive paper.
I don't just glue on white pages, I glue on the ones that have unsuccessful drawings on them or are stained by the markers.

It is useless to keep unsuccessful drawings, beside one should never completely fall in love with a drawing, otherwise where does the room for improvement go?

At times I also glue other things in my sketchbook, like tickets and stuff. They help me place the sketchbook in time, tell me how long it spans, visually (even though I write a date at the beginning to remember when I started... my relationship with number is not good. I do have more of an eidetic memory, rather than a photographic memory, but I need a trigger to help me recollect things faster:  let's say that colored pieces of paper do the trick for me much faster... so that, not only I remember things, but I remember flavors and smells in a split second).

Artists must never underestimate the importance of the use of all the 5 senses. If you only draw for the eyes you are loosing an important slice of your audience and you are transmitting less.

When you draw you must see, feel, smell, hear, taste all in one piece. You have to find a way, through color and poses, to convey all the five sense. Only then would your art come to life.

Here are some more example of my sketchbook pages. The ice-cream spoon is grom Grom, september 24th, Piazza di Spagna, Rome. Salty caramel flavor. Mhhhh... so good!

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