Sketchbooks have been part of my creative process since high school. I have been drawing or writing in them to work out ideas, use as diaries, prosaic wordplay and note-taking since my first year at art school. Over the years I have amassed over 50 traditional sketch books and probably twice as many 8.5” x 11” portfolio books of loose sketches, drawings and collages. Sketchbooks are great portals to different periods of one’s life. I can go back to 1987 for instance and find many useful ideas or pleasant memories, sometimes not so pleasant. It isn’t stated in a word or a date but perhaps as an image, a repetitive image or maybe the way the pen, marker or pencil was used; loosely, heavy handedly, deliberately, it can express volumes of emotion within the context of a few pages. I did a lot of writing and personal shorthand in those older sketchbooks, many times describing or noting a particular idea or phrases from a book I was reading. Remember this was way before phones and portable cameras all though I see the Polaroid camera was very influential for a time. It is easy to see the transition and reliance on mobile phones as time went on. Many of the sketchbooks now assume the note-taking and voice recordings so the books have gotten more colorful and detailed and not simply jotting down a fleeting idea, cosmic doodle or a repetitive gesture. These days it takes longer to fill a sketchbook up, this is because of the phone as well as I don’t need to carry a sketchbook with me everywhere I go like I use to, now when I open my book it is more thoughtful, more intentional.
I feel many things when I randomly open a sketchbook from the shelves at my studio, the thought of a “breakthrough” or the quick impression while sitting in a park, of a fleeting color scheme; rusty brown, ivy green, Naples yellow, lavender scarf. It was such a part of my artist process and practice back in the day. I hope I never give up on the sketchbook completely they are my oldest and closet friends or maybe relative.