About sketchbooks

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When I first started studying AS level in Graphic Design 10 years ago, I spent all my time “painting and decorating” my enormous A3 sketchbooks. Making a sketchbook felt like creating my own world, with my own set of rules. It was a place where anything could happen. I felt like I was alive when I was drawing in my sketchbook. I have to admit that filling in a sketchbook was my main goal, while completing the actual projects provided with some content. It was a sketchbook for sketchbook’s sake kind of thing.

On my Foundation year the transition to using sketchbook as a tool to develop ideas wasn’t easy for me. I was so used to decorating pages and arranging everything in order on the page. Discovering that it wasn’t necessary anymore made me feel lost. I used my sketchbook half-heartedly because I had to. And during my BA at CSM, there was so much happening that I never made an effort to use a sketchbook consistently, drawing on random pieces of paper instead and going for large-scale format drawings instead. I even went to bookbinding class once and found the idea of measuring proportions and cutting straight corners really boring.

In my post-university freelance period, I did find myself using a sketchbook when I needed to, but it ceased to be that special, personal activity that it once was. I used to buy loads of sketchbooks: expensive ones, square ones, the ones with fancy watercolour papers… But the thought of keeping a sketchbook and working in it methodically seemed too daunting. All that changed once I made my first sketchbook from scratch. 

I found a Youtube link that showed how to create a coptic stitch sketchbook, I tried to make one and then I was hooked! I make sketchbooks regularly now, and I always try to use recycled papers and cheap materials. I don’t want my sketchbook to feel too precious, otherwise I will feel nervous to make a mark.

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