Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sketches That Want to Grow Up to be Paintings

In addition to rooting through my office preparing for Fanime, I've similarly been rooting through my sketchbooks for a little project I'm not quite ready to reveal the nature of (yet). But I'm coming across various sketches that just never got the opportunity to become paintings. I've got stacks of these Strathmore recycled paper sketchbooks that I start scribbling in whenever I get into Brainstorming Mode.

These books are like a bank savings account of concepts to an artist. Random doodles. Discarded alternate poses for commissions. Lightning inspiration that fades as suddenly as it strikes. They might seem like garbage at the time of sketching. But they are a treasure trove of ideas for the future when I'm stuck and I need a good starting point for a vague idea in my head that just hasn't found the right paper incarnation yet. Sometimes I won't even take a whole sketch, but just a hand or a facial expression; but that little bit will be enough to get me out of a current rut.

I'm often asked, "Do you ever run out of ideas?" (i.e. Artist Block)

Well first of all as a professional illustrator, you can't afford to be blocked. Perhaps some pieces might be less inspired than others, but creating a composition is a lot like solving a puzzle. In a strange way, it can be as logical and straightforward as designing a computer program (says the inner programmer in me). Once you find the right spark to jump start the piece, the rest falls into place in a natural way.

And as for my personal work that is not done on commission, there's never enough time to be blocked. There's always a dozen little bits waiting to be discovered in old sketchbooks. They just need that moment to be able to see them with the right frame of mind, and suddenly the possibilities are opened.


  1. What fun! I'd *love* to have a peak at your stacks of sketch books. The bumble bee fairy is gorgeuos.

  2. Sketching is something I've recently been doing more of, and it definitely helps with the creative process. If you think about it, sketching is a way to put down on paper all those abstract ideas that are constantly running through your subconscious. Sketching and doodling is kind of like warming up before exercising - if you don't do it, you're not going to get the most out of your activity.

    And I love the bumblebee fairy! Her body type is quite fitting for the bees.