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Blog . Keeping a Sketchbook Makes You a Better Artist


Keeping a Sketchbook Makes You a Better Artist

09/04/14  |  Posted by  |  Posted in Digital Creativity

It took me a couple years into college to get into the habit of keeping a sketchbook. I came from a high school where everything I did was gridded from a photograph in colored pencil. Realism was the thing to achieve, doodles didn't really have a place in my life except for appearing all over my math and French homework. I wish I had saved my scribbled-on worksheets to save the magical tangle of lines.

Fast forward to standing in front of the Moleskine notebook displays at Utrecht. The texture of the sketchbooks attracted me like a magnet, I bought a small red one if anything just to run my hand over the cover. That notebook would come to house some of my most treasured drawings. It also served as my technical journal where I documented my holy grail moments and epic fails.

My major is in animation, video, and sound design so I work in a lot of computer software. With Photoshop or After Effects there is a million different ways to carve out a style. If I came up with an amazing recipe for product photography editing, I wrote down every effect and adjustment I used. I made a note of everything that worked and didn't work so I could spend more time trying new ventures, rather than revisiting a trial and error.

My little red Moleskine notebook has helped solidify my identity as an artist. I brought it with me everywhere and wrote down things that I laughed at that day, things that made me feel good to say to myself, observations. I wrote down things that made me sad too, and let the pages soak up the sadness so that I didn't have to carry it inside me. It made me feel courageous to make a discoverable copy of the things I worry about because later on, I realized I wasn't the only one with those worries. It gave me strength to start a doodle in pen, let it evolve and not erase any of it because every imperfection belonged.

All of my musings would fuel my artwork and what I created had a little more "Vanesa" in it the more I wrote in my sketchbook. I will always and forever be inspired by people, places, and things. Reflecting on that added soul to what I did.

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Sculpture + Expanded Media major David K. Ross will participate virtually in an emerging artist discussion this week during SculptureX! Learn more about his involvement in the symposium, his artistic practice and why he chose to study at CIA.

7 days ago via Twitter