Sketchbooks, art journals

Ambition. Improve my drawing. Not to be realistic, but to be expressive, with fluid and confident lines.

Method. Be disciplined about a sketch-a-day challenge? I keep trying , but I quickly descend into silliness and give up. And I’ve always been too intimidated by the prospect of an “art” journal.

by J-M Basquiat
by J-M Basquiat

Rumination. I started “The Sellable Sketch” course at the Textile Design Lab this week. First lesson required us to imitate the work of one of our “design heroes.” I chose Jean-Michel Basquiat, grafitti artist turned American master.* I thought I could copy his style, no problem, in Photoshop. I put Tupac on my Spotify. Two hours later, I had a crappy imitation and a much deeper appreciation of Basquiat’s layered and narrative work.

Aide from his inborn genius, what tens of thousand of hours of drawing/painting got this young man to such fluency?

Damn. I really need to practice.

Another method. How about a weeklong sketch? Start. Pick it up daily to refine, repeat, try new stuff. Maybe I’m fooling myself, but it might be something to “go deeper” with. Like writing a novel instead of a short story.

This week’s extended doodle above nudged me into this train of thought. A 9×12 marker pad and black markers sit on the table next to my easy chair. It seems like more fun to pick up something already started (and already “ruined” so what the heck), than to think up something new.

Do you have a regular sketchbook or art journal habit? An irregular one? I’d love to turn this into a ritual (to quit overthinking it).

*If you have PBS, there is a good American Masters episode on his life.

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