What is a sketch book not?

Are you, like me, one of those people who don’t favour the sketchbook for drawing in? Too precious? Too neat? I consider preliminary work to have an investigative nature. A freedom to explore, to make a mess, to discover. For me, loose paper is much more appealing. As soon as I get my hands on one of those gorgeous books with the delicious interiors and exquisite bindings I’m taken back to school with instructions of ‘neat handwriting in your best books please’. To some degree I’ve conquered it by buying the more simple type of book – I’m happy to splash around in there most of the time although I still consider it ‘for keeps’ which creates a small amount of tension. However. I can’t resist buying a nice sketchbook. It’s so gratifying. I have loads. So what do I use them for? Lists. As an artist I feel it’s paramount to record my ideas. I can’t explore all the ideas I have the instant I have them so I need somewhere to ‘dump’ the information. My sketchbooks are the perfect guardians of my bursts of inspiration and deeper considerations and reminders. They tell me where to go to look for information, store prompts for things I’d possibly forget and even hold one or two sketches here and there. Funnily enough, scratching rapid notes and making a mess in language form doesn’t bother me – it’s just when I try to keep drawings in them.


So here are my top 8 points I consider a sketch book not to be:

1 An object to be treated delicately – it needs to be utilised.
2 My ‘best book’ – it’s a working document.
3 Expensive – it then becomes too precious (although I’d put some great lists in it).
4 Tidy – I like to just dump it all in there.
5 An ornament – it’s not meant to be pretty. It’s not meant to be there just to show my friends how good I am (or not).
6 A work of art – art books are works of art not sketchbooks.
7 A placemat – cups of coffee should not be allowed to nestle amongst them.
8 Something to share – my sketchbooks are my thoughts. My office space. Private.

Do you have a list? Or maybe you have a different opinion of the humble sketchbook? Your comments would be welcome if you’d like to add them below?

2 thoughts on “What is a sketch book not?

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