Exhibitions of your own work are all about showing off. You try and present the best of what you can do. You present a series of finished paintings or drawings editing any that do not work or are not up to scratch. Sketchbooks however are the opposite. They are for anything and everything – ideas, sketches, aides memoirs, diary notes and even shopping lists. I have kept sketchbooks with me close to hand as much as possible over the years.
There are two reasons I use them:
Firstly, they are really good things for recording and remembering, particularly the family. When kids are little they say funny things and we always mean to write them down but we never get round to it. You think you’ll remember, but you forget. Taking photos is a good reminder of days on beaches but drawings I think can be better as you are investing more time and energy in recording the moment, helping commit it to your memory. Often the drawings are not that great which annoys me but looking back at them I can recall that day so much better.
Secondly, I have always struggled with drawing. It has never come naturally to me, particularly line. I am always awestruck by great line drawings of someone like Norman Blamey and love a good portrait drawing. I guess it’s because it’s not what I do in my ‘normal’ body of work. I was feet and ankles below my four contemporaries at ‘A’-Level Art at Presentation College, Reading in 1981 in terms of proportional drawing. I just could not see and put.
It is often said that drawings show the bare bones of an artist. It certainly exposes them which is why I have decided to upload these sketchbooks. I have left as many ‘warts’ in as is palatable. There has been an element of editing: I have removed diary notes, shopping lists and the odd very weak doodle.
In 2011 I started using Daler Rowney ‘Cachet” sketchbooks for their sympathetic brown paper which is very smooth and great for the likes of a 3h pencil and have decided for now to start with these. There are of course loads more from previous years but I have not yet had these photographed.
I am afraid you cannot rotate the format so you may have to rotate your head for the odd landscape format drawing.