Monday, July 21, 2008

To Sketch or Not

Meg asked me whether I was using my "down" time to sketch ideas to make later, so I've been thinking about my idea generation process. I know lots of artists use sketch books and I think it's a wonderful idea. My problem is that I want the sketch book to look like its own finished product (is that being a perfectionist, or what?)! When I think of sketch books I think of all the wonderful collage books I've seen, or books with really cool drawings by people who can actually draw, or beautiful little watercolor paintings of ideas, or whatever. And mine never look like that. Which is one reason I don't do them.

The other reason is that I've realized that I prefer to have a big picture vision of what I want to do, the techniques I want to use, a general idea of what will go where...but then I just like to let the finished product become what it will in the process of creating it. And not try to have too much control over it. It's true that I oftentimes don't, at first, like what I've produced, but I think there's something else at work in that regard -- like thinking that what I do is never good enough.

But if I plan something out in too much detail, then there isn't a lot of room for serendipity. And I often like to change things as I go. This happens for me with weaving much of the time. I'll have one thing in mind when I'm designing the piece, then other things will come into play while I'm in the process, and I'll end up doing something else. I keep reminding myself that there are no mistakes! What finally gets created must have been what was supposed to happen, or it wouldn't have.

At any rate, I AM thinking about things to come even though I'm only working mentally at the moment. Taking that summer vacation, now, that I never even imagined I'd have this year!


Tricks said...

Hi Connie,
Sketch books, well, they are for you, no one else unless you want to share them. Enjoy making them. Don't just draw, stick pieces of fabric into them, and bits of silk thread or such like. Collect colours that you like. Cut things from magazines that inspire you. Paint a background, a wash of colour. I have actually pasted some dried up cabbage leaves into mine this week simply because I like the colours and patterns. Believe me, just do it and don't worry what it looks like. A year of so later you'll look back at it and think wow, did I make that. You'll find yourself dipping into it later on for ideas. Take it with you where ever you go. Use it like a diary, a visual diary. I love sketchbooks, not when I am starting out but when I am nearly finished them. Hope this helps. Tricia

Peg in South Carolina said...

Ahh, a woman after my own heart. Darwall also weaves this way, though he generally leaves the weaving to others and trusts them to do their own thing. When I broke my ankle many years ago I had occasion to do much thinking and reflecting, not a bad thing. In some ways I thought of that break as a gift of time. Thinking of it in those terms made patience a bit easier.

Cate Rose said...

Thank you both for your widely divergent thoughts and ideas!

Meg said...

My usual sketchbooks are spiral bound and they have some of the stuff that I normally do on backs of envelopes, receipts, or on paper napkins if I'm not home. In fact, I have a few of them pasted, too. They are my ideas books.

I love other people's sketchbooks and books about sketchbooks, and over a year ago I bought a hardbound blank book - this I intend to make into a "beautiful" sketchbook, and so far I found two greeting cards which I want to paste and work around, and they sit inside the front cover.

I know I'll get to that book, too, eventually. All in good time. I need to feel more comfy with paints and pencils. Meanwhile, spiral sketchbooks are messy and diverse and all over the place, but at least I have some of my ideas stored somewhere retrievable.

Enjoy reading, in the meantime.