|Initial pencil sketch to show just in case I messed up...|
I started a new sketchbook recently, one I bought last year when I ordered up an assortment to try out. This one is geared toward mixed media/multi-media in a classic landscape orientation sized 5.5 x 8.5, and I had thoughts of using it for outdoor sketching with splashes of watercolor paint. Instead, I've noticed a trend in my eating habits towards food from my youth, things that I'd gotten away from eating but feel like comfort food now, and I thought it might be fun to capture some of these in this sketchbook. I don't sketch fast enough to work from life, so I've been snapping photos to work from later before diving in.
|Sketch after applying colored pencil and text|
The pages are mostly smooth on one side and rougher on the other. For now I am coloring with pencil, and this one of my Spam sandwich is done on the rougher side that is not as well suited for it. Still, it is giving me good practice in experimenting with my set of Prismacolor pencils and the Verithin ones too. You can see along the spiral binding where I've tested colors and the blending of several. The pages are perforated just in case you create a masterpiece worthy of framing which gives a little space for this. I puzzled over the color of Spam, discovering that I could simulate it fairly closely with Deco Pink over Light Peach. I'm making these pages almost as much about narrative as illustration, something I picked up on while viewing work on the Urban Sketchers sites. It will be like a little memory book. I'm finding that I like designating a theme for each sketchbook. I'm also finding that I like the size and orientation of this sketchbook better than the one I'm using for my architecture urban sketching.
This sketch is nothing to brag about, so why am I sharing? Well, I thought it would help make the point of one of the reasons I blog, which I ran across in this post on Austen Kleon's Tumbr:
Artists frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces. They want their work and their career to be shrouded in the mystery that it all came out at once. It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them. If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that. People who are young, or still struggling, can get easily discouraged, because they can’t do it like they thought it was done. An artwork is a finished product, and it should be, but I always swore to myself that I would not hide my brushstrokes.
When I first started blogging, I wondered just how much of my struggling I should share - would people, especially the potential buying public, be disillusioned if they found out I didn't just whip out good work like magic? Would they turn away and call me a fraud if the curtain was pulled back and they saw all the missteps and doubts? I eventually quit worrying about that because I naturally enjoy sharing and I naturally enjoy buoying people up who are struggling as they learn because, hey, I've been there. Few people jump in the deep end with marvelous results. (I secretly resent those who do!) And I've learned that people really are interested in the process, the "brushstrokes", and heartened when they hear it isn't always easy, that there's hope if they too are on an artistic journey and struggling. No reason to hide. Not even sketches like mine.