Exercise 1.0: What sort of sketchbook should I use?

My Sketchbooks:

The Illustration 1 Handbook states, “The only wrong way to tackle the following exercises is to restrict yourself by only using an HB pencil and an A5 sketchbook” so I am going to try and be as experimental as possible during this course.

Luckily I had all these books & paper stashed away in my wardrobe so I didn’t really need to spend any money buying them new. (I had bought them sometime in the past though). It’s a really good feeling when you have all of this lying around ready to be used.

For this exercise I have taken the advice of other OCA students and decided to select a variety of sketchbooks to use. Below I have documented them. I have also shown a photo at the end of each selection to show the size difference.

Pink Pig Sketchbook (my main sketchbook, thick paper good for when I use different mediums) :

Japanese Writing Paper (would be interesting for anything geometric or proportionate drawings:

Blue Moleskin Dotted Notebook with pocket in back (dots are good for accuracy & good for going out):

A4 Coloured Pages, A4 Lined Paper, A4 Card, A4 Tracing Paper with bulldog clip (look at the size of it!):

Questions to answer from the Illustration 1 Handbook:

Do I get intimidated by the blank pages of an expensive sketchbook?

Yes, I really try not to be a perfectionist but struggle with the idea of messing up a new sketchbook if something isn’t perfect or up to my standards. I have ripped so many pages out of various sketchbooks and I need to stop doing this!

Do I need something on my page already? E.g. a grid, some faint lines

No, not really. I don’t mind working on any sort of paper but I do prefer plain paper as you have creative freedom of the white plain page without any restraints of the lines or grids.

Do I prefer to work on a heavy weight paper or something more flimsy?

I do prefer to work on heavy weight paper or something slightly more flimsy but not really thin paper as I hate it when I use it and the ink from my pen bleeds through and ruins the next page.

Do I prefer to work large or small?

I prefer to work large when I am trying to come up with ideas, experimenting or using interesting mediums like charcoal or paint but if I am creating small illustrations I prefer to work small so I can add small details with fine-liner pens.

Am I a creature of habit that needs things to look the same?

No, not really. Where’s the fun in that! It’s like repeating yourself again and again.

Do I want variety that relates to whatever I am working on?

I like variety and it is fun when you add unrelated information/drawings into the sketchbook like in Emma’s Sketchbook. It’d be interesting to use a sketchbook as an overall sketchbook where I can add anything creative into it.

Do I want a sketchbook that is like a hardback book so I can work across pages and treat them as double page spreads? In this way I could make larger images.

No, I prefer to work on single pages so that the information/drawings are easier to see and won’t get trapped in the crease of the pages.

Do I want a spiral bound book so I can easily fold the pages and cover over?

Yes, I like the fact that you can fold everything over so you have a blank page every time without the stress of the binding breaking on a hardcover.

What am I using my sketchbook for?

Sketches, jotting down ideas/thoughts and initial design work.

Where will I be using my sketchbook?

Anywhere, as all my sketchbooks are A4 or under in size I can carry then anywhere. But realistically I will be spending most of my time as my desk.

Do I want to work secretively or publicly?

Both, I normally work secretly and find it hard when people ask me what I’m drawing as I have social anxiety but I would like to become more public with my sketchbook and draw outside as this would add more variety to my work.

Do I already have a favourite sort of sketchbook?

Yes, my A4 Pink Pig sketchbook. I had an A2 sketchbook previously as I thought it would give me more creative freedom being that big but it ended up trapping me at my desk all the time as that is the only place I could use it as it was to big and bulky to move. A5 makes me nervous about ruining the pages as it is a small delicate sketchbook so A4 was perfect for me as I didn’t feel pressure when making mistakes in it and I could take it anywhere to draw. The paper is not to thick and not to thin so I can use any medium on it without it bleeding though easily.

Do I produce digital sketchbook work / drawings already? If so how will I document this for my tutor?

Yes, I use my Wacom Cintiq Graphics Tablet. I am still getting the hang of it but I think it would be helpful for some projects. I would document these on here (wordpress) with the rest of my work as a digital image.

Will a digital device be one of my 3 sketchbooks that I choose?

Yes, this gives variety and adds another interesting medium to work with.

Creating Simple Handmade Sketchbooks:

My ‘foldy’ sketchbook, I made an A6 and A7 (tiny weenie!) I used white card for the cover, black for the inner lining and a selection of lined, yellow, tracing & plain paper for the pages:

My small booklet sketchbook (this was super easy and to be honest I’m pretty confused I have never done this before!):

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