Sketch and Save: using your sketchbook to work out ideas

To me, there’s nothing like sitting down with my sketchbook at a coffee shop or the nearest library, enjoying a beverage. I look down at a blank page, and wonder what to draw at that moment. Without thinking too hard, I take the plunge and just draw.

I often spend my lunch hour drawing, sketching or doodling. It’s a great way to take my mind off of work, like not worrying about deadlines. To me, it’s relaxing. My creative lunch hour is my solace and solitude.

So what do I usually draw?

Well, I draw/sketch/doodle anything that comes to mind. It may be spaceships, giant robots or characters. Also, it could be of places I’ve been. It can be anything. It is what it is.

There aren’t any pages in my sketchbook that have a finished drawing worthy of a “masterpiece.” Each page is filled with lines and scribbles, rough pencil markings that look like chicken scratches. The pencil markings look like I am fighting with myself to produce an image, toiling with ideas. I have to remind myself to step back and look at the page. Then, I have to tell myself what I have drawn is okay. These chicken scratches are just ideas. They are not the end result, they are part of the journey.

Robot sketch

Out of the multitude of sketches, I notice a few doodles are worthy of being re-examined: Pencil sketches of bones look like robot armour. Rough drawings of vintage trains resemble spaceships. Water chestnuts look like alien beings from a distant planet. I save these pages of my sketchbook as a record of ideas, ideas of bigger concepts that may lead to finished drawings.

These chicken scratches are just ideas. They are not the end result, they are part of the journey.

I guess what I am saying is sketches do matter. This represents your thought process. A sketchbook is an artistic map to your own adventure. Your sketchbook is a progression of your skills as an artist. It is shaped by your passion and determination. It strengthens your creative mind. Don’t be ashamed of what you draw. Doodles could be as simple as a line, a dot or some mishmash of scribbles. They don’t need to be perfect – save them! An image looking like “garbage” can lead to something that is beautiful in the end.

So onwards I go to the nearest coffee shop, library or park armed with my sketchbook! I don’t know where this path will lead me. But isn’t that the point?

Once you arrive at the end of a journey, the final destination – whatever it may be – is always worth the trip.

The following images are scans of my sketches from my sketchpad.  I have worked on this robot concept for one year (on and off).  The sketches are extremely important because they are an evolution of the final robot concept.  I can look at these sketches and they help me determine which direction I can go (my artistic map).

Enjoy and sketch on!


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