The importance of carrying a sketchbook

Illustrator Jack Fletcher on the importance of using a sketchbook:

“My creative process is hella eclectic,” says Jack. “It jumps from digital to pen and paper to screen-printing, at times. It is kind of whatever I feel works with what i’m doing at the time. The one constant thing for me is carrying round a sketchbook. Muji till I die. Thats where I try to record all of my ideas and work through them before finally transferring them to a sheet of paper or a Photoshop document. It allows me to get most of my terrible drawings out of the way before I start on something big. Though, that being said, a lot of the terrible drawings I do become my favourites when I revisit them later. My sketchbook is therefore double important to my creative process as it allows me to keep track of all my creations.”

via It’s Nice That

See also: Austin Kleon: A good place to have bad ideas


Robert Macfarlane on his preference for physical notebooks

Author Robert Macfarlane on his preference for physical notebooks over digital notes:

People sometimes ask me why I don’t use a phone to take notes when I’m ‘out’ in the field. The answer is that phones smash, while notebooks bend. I also like the way that notebooks record where they’ve been not just in terms of what’s written in them, but also in terms of the wear they bear as objects.

On the types of notebooks he uses:

The notebooks vary from a tiny lilac-coloured Moleskine just seven or eight centimetres high, to robust hardback journals, tough enough to withstand being dragged through limestone tunnel systems and soaked in slate mines.

One of the advantages of carrying around a physical notebook is the ability to tuck found objects into the pages or the envelope sometimes found at the back:

I also tend to tuck things into the pages of my notebooks, which flutter out later and surprise me. When I was in East Greenland, camping for weeks by the calving face of a huge glacier called the Knud Rasmussen, I picked up three ptarmigan feathers, and two iridescent ‘books’ of mica, and put them into the back of the two notebooks I filled up in that time. Two years later, I opened the notebooks again – and there was the mica, glittering away, and there were the feathers, as if fallen straight from the bird, pulling my memory instantly back to the cold, off-planet atmosphere of the glacier.

via Penguin Books from an original post by Austin Kleon


Sean Scully and the Art of Everything

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Really enjoyable documentary about the painter, Sean Scully, shown recently on the BBC: Unstoppable: Sean Scully and the Art of Everything.

On what got him interested in art:

“I can’t really explain why I got hypnotised by art. I don’t really know how I managed to get there from where I was. It’s sort of inexplicable to me, but I used to look at books. I loved these books and they had almost this kind of religious importance to me. And the ones that were the most approachable were these books by Thames & Hudson called The World of Art.”

How Van Gogh’s Chair got him into art school:

“When I was trying to get into art school I had to find something that I could do, that I could teach myself, because I was self-taught. And, some of these things, I can see, are a bit too complicated, but I thought this painting looked as if anybody could have painted it. It seemed as if it was something I could do myself. So I made all these little Van Gogh’s and I got my portfolio together and I got turned down by eleven art schools. All of them. And it was unbelievably discouraging. And finally I came upon an art school that had a little vocational course – not a degree course – in Croydon. So I applied and I miraculously got in. And that’s the beginning.”

On doubt:

“I don’t have self-doubt. I don’t have doubt and I don’t think that doubt is useful, or constructive. It doesn’t create anything. You have to have faith and commitment and belief to do something that hasn’t been done before or to create something extraordinary. It’s already difficult enough without you putting roadblocks in your own way.”

On America:

“People like to pretend that America is the Land of the Free, but it’s not. It’s the Land of Weapons is what it is.”