The Practicality of a Sketchbook

Why is sketchbooking so important to me? As a jewellery student it is interesting to see that just about everyone in my class has a different way of doing it, from the almost diary like note taking and meticulous recording of ideas, to collections of photos, to collages, to not keeping one at all, preferring to mind-map and collect 3D objects.
Mine are just drawings, none of my handwriting. If I write in it, I write in pencil, then Letraset (I love Letraset!) later after rubbing the pencil out. When I buy a new sketchbook, I see it as a lovely hardback book waiting to be filled then flicked through and read over and over again. It sounds silly, but it upsets me if a page is out of place, or not as good as others. I think this year where I want to go with my sketchbooks is to make them into part of my story. My research, development and conclusion recorded start to finish. It helps of course that I like line drawing, and my line drawing is definitely a big factor in my final pieces. As far as I am concerned they are a huge part of my process of a designer.
I would be really interested to see how other jewellery designers record and execute their ideas and whether their drawing or method of recording directly influences the construction of a final piece. One of our design tutors mentioned in his blog he failed to see the point of life drawing and sketchbooks for jewellery and graphics students. But does it not increase spatial awareness? Which is so important for a designer, especially if like jewellers you are working in 3D.
Either way, I think life drawing taught me a lot and has led to the way I keep my sketchbooks being an integral part of my final pieces. Any thoughts?

Helen*

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3 responses to “The Practicality of a Sketchbook

  1. I like this blog post, it is really interesting to see how we all sketchbook.I love to sketchbook, but my books will be covered with illegible scribbles and notes that really only I can read. Some pages I think look like small pieces of art,others just look a mess. But but I do love to see how we all work, and in turn,how the use/lack of use of a sketchbook leads the class to their final outcomes.

  2. During my years as a jewellery students I depended greatly on my sketchbook. I couldn’t even bring myself to go into the workshop without having something planned in the sketchbook. A lot of jewellers like to work with the materials and see where that takes them but to me that strikes fear in me (maybe the OCD shining through again) but the way that I used my sketchbook was a visual plan. Not everything turned out exactly how I had drawn it but it gave me a launch pad to work from.

    Now, having graduated from jewellery over 3years ago (oh my!!) I have struggled to get back into using sketchbooks which I really regret! To have them be such an integral part of degree show to not even using one now seems very strange but I honestly can’t explain it!

    My advice to anyone who does use sketchbooks is to keep going, don’t ever stop!

  3. I looove my sketchbook. Not so much the one where I sketch down ideas (maybe coz it’s never neat/readable boring in a black and white way) but the one where I keep my very neat drawings (one per page!) of my source material, always there to flick back to.

    I kind of agree that life drawing isn’t essential (not that it isn’t very useful or doesn’t have a point) … it certainly does help with awareness of 3d forms especially the body which we design for.. but does that awareness ever leave you once you’ve learnt/realised it? I do however think that keeping a sketchbook or at least drawing from source is mega important not only for the sense of 3d you don’t get from a photograph/memory but also for development of ideas.

    Couple of my sketchbooks are somewhere in the 3rd year studios if you fancy a look!

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