Saturday, March 24, 2007

Carrying a Sketchbook, part one

The best advice I can give you about becoming a better artist is to carry a sketchbook with you all of them time and to draw in it whenever you can. There are many reasons why very few people ever do this. I didn't do it for many years and I wish I had, so this is the first of several posts wherein I will try to convince you to do it.

Carrying a sketchbook is very, very important. A sketchbook is your best opportunity to catch real life as it passes by you. Why is this important? Because what makes great storytelling, animation, characters and films of every kind is that they capture a truth about real life. Any film that can show us a reflection of life as we know it will always resound deep within us. "Lady and the Tramp" may be about dogs, but what makes it such a great film is that we watch it and think "yes, I've always thought that being a dog would feel like that" and, even more importantly, the dogs in that movie act like very real people and have all the same hopes and fears as we all do: the fear of not belonging, of being replaced by someone your family loves more than you, of getting old and not being useful anymore, just to name a few.

The truth never gets old or uninteresting. Any film that captures a truth about life will be compelling to an audience, no matter what other flaws it might have. There are so many films made today by people who don't try to say anything about life or attempt to portray real people - they're too busy trying to be slick or clever or stylish or something else.

Anyway, if you haven't listened to Brad Bird's recent podcast at the Spline Doctors, he covers this idea pretty well. He talks about how "The Incredibles" is more than a film about superheroes. It transcends the superhero genre because it's about a family and a guy with real problems, not contrived ones.

This is a point I belabor all the time, but it's because if there's one thing that animation suffers from it's a tendency to be in-bred and fall back on animation clichés rather than re-invent itself and search for new ideas and fresh avenues. So many animated movies and TV shows seem to want to repeat what's been done instead of breaking new ground.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that a sketchbook is more than a way to improve your drawing, it forces you to focus on the world around you and analyze it. Just trying to record the world on paper makes you observe and study everything around you instead of just letting the world wash over you without a glance. True, you can get the same thing by just being an incorrigible people-watcher whenever you're in public, which you should do as well. If you're not fascinated by people and what makes them do what they do, I can't imagine why you're in the business of telling stories or interested in acting through animation.

And in an even more direct way, carrying a sketchbook will help free you from acting clichés because when you keep a sketchbook, if you are drawing people that you see in everyday life, then you are drawing them as they are in real life and capturing their real emotions and movement, which will help build up a library in your mind of how real people move. This is a good antidote to relying on the same old tried-and-true animation stock poses, acting and business that get rehashed and reused all too frequently in our industry.

Anyway, in the next posts about sketchbooks I will run down some of the reasons why people hate carrying sketchbooks and do my best to talk you into forgetting those things and getting in the habit of carrying one and using it. Ultimately, you won't do it unless you enjoy it, so my ultimate aim is to help you get to a point where you can find sketching to be fun.

Reason #1 people don't carry sketchbooks: Everybody hates having people looking over their shoulder while they're drawing.

This is the biggest reason I hated carrying a sketchbook for so long. In animation, most of our drawing output is done in private, where we can re-draw something over and over until it's perfect. Some people are good at doing a perfect drawing on the first try but not me. I need to try a lot of different things and go over a drawing a few times to come up with a result that I like. With a sketchbook, that's just not possible - you only get one shot at it. And whenever you're out drawing in public, people are bound to look over your shoulder and try to see what you're doing and it's hard not to feel like they're judging you.

When I was at CalArts we regularly went to the L.A. Zoo to draw the animals. There were always a lot of elementary-age schoolkids there at the same time and they had absolutely no compunction about looking over your shoulder and passing comment about what you were doing.

It's funny - I don't know what people expect to see what they look in a sketchbook but they always seem mighty disappointed. I think people expect to see what they would see in a Hollywood version of a sketchbook. Whenever someone is sketching from life in a movie, it's always supposed to look tossed off and effortless but it's really some totally finished and labored-over drawing that some artist spent hours rendering.

Any real sketchbook is full of misfires, false starts and stumbles, with a few successes sprinkled here and there. If you were capable of doing a perfect drawing every time, you wouldn't need to carry a sketchbook! But the quickest way to learn how to do perfect drawings is to do a lot of crappy ones first...and learn from them.

So don't view your sketchbook as a place for perfect drawings. That's not what it's for. It's for learning. If you pressure yourself to do perfect drawings you'll never carry a sketchbook. That's too much pressure and it takes all the fun out of sketching.

Don't focus on how good or bad your sketches are, instead focus on doing your best to capture what you see and learn from it. In order to carry a sketchbook around I had to just tell myself that my sketchbook is just for learning, not filling with beautiful sketches. Focus on just doing a drawing. It doesn't have to be perfect. You'll get a lot out of just moving your pen around and trying to capture what you see. You'll inherently sense what could be better and apply that next time. Try not to get frustrated - just remember a sketchbook is not about doing perfect finished drawings. A sketchbook is all about learning, and when are you learning more than when you're making mistakes? A mistake is a perfect opportunity to figure out what you could do better next time.

Anyway, back to the point: if some kid looks at your drawings and passes some judgment, that's just a kid being a kid. Laugh it off or, better yet, record what the kid said in your sketchbook. That definitely fits into the "record life as it happens" category. What's better fodder for a document that's all about recording real life than writing down what some honest kid said in a very real moment? Or trying to capture that expression he had on his face as he looked at your sketches? That's what makes kids so great: they almost always react honestly and say what they think without considering how you might take it or how it might make you feel...they're just honest (for the most part). There's no malice.

However, it's inevitable that you run into adults who want to see your sketchbook as well. Just a few months ago, one of my wife's friends picked up my sketchbook from a table (without asking) and started flipping through it. Then when she's about halfway through it she says "Oh, can I look?" ("Be my guest" I say, as if I had a choice). She flips through it and puts it back down, and her only response was "hm".

Now any fellow artist who looks at your sketchbook is going to say nice things, because they know how hard it is and besides, it's the polite thing to do. But for some reason non-artistic types don't always grasp this. It's part of the hazard of being an artist. You just have to let it go. Laugh it off. It used to bother me but as I got older I realized that I was letting people like that keep me from doing what I wanted to do, which is carry a sketchbook. And I was tired of letting people keep me from doing it, so I just decided to get over it. If I'm going to be brave enough to carry a sketchbook in public and let other people see it, good for me. If someone doesn't have the common sense to be polite when they look through it, that says a lot more about them than it does about me. And if you ever find yourself in the same position as I did, just remember that they aren't doing it intentionally: people who aren't artists don't really understand what you're trying to do, and they don't realize that what they're saying might be irritating or insulting to you.

The best part is that this goes back to the observation part. I already knew what this woman's reaction would be because I know her and I know all about her personality. She's just that type of person. She's never shy about her opinions and she isn't very open to ideas other than hers once she's made up her mind. She doesn't have much patience or respect for artistic endeavors (her focus is much more on business and the financial side of things). She isn't mean, she's just very direct and she's actually a very sweet person and always there when you need a hand. The whole thing was totally worth it to see her character in action. If I could ever create an animated personality that had one-tenth of her real spirit it would blow people's minds.

Anyway, don't let a fear of other people keep you from doing what you want to do and developing as an artist. The worst that will happen is that someone will look at your artwork and say it's not very good. This is pretty rare but it's the risk we run as artists. How good we are as artists is not the measure of our worth as people. Our ability to be humble and admit we still have things to learn speaks much more about who we are than our artistic ability. And anyone brave enough to sketch from life and run the risk of failure in an attempt to get better has the right to be very proud of themselves. After all, it's much easier to sit on the sidelines and not attempt anything, but that route will never make you a better artist.

So what kind of blogger would I be if I nagged you to get over what other people think and then didn't share some of my own sketchbook pages with you? Not a very good one, but I still hate having to put my money where my mouth is. Anyway, as I said: I don't focus on doing good drawings. I focus on recording what I see and working towards being a better artist, not filling a sketchbook with perfect pretty drawings. This is for two reasons: number one, I can't. It's totally beyond me to do perfect drawings while I am trying to record the messy and confusing life erupting all around me. Every time I draw someone in a pose, I am drawing it for the first time, because everyone moves differently and does actions differently than anybody else would. So I am always trying to capture something new. This is not a good way to be perfect. If I wanted to be perfect I would just draw the same standard poses over and over again. My sketchbook would be more slick-looking but I wouldn't be learning very much.

Number two, it's not any fun to try to do perfect drawings, because (for me) that's not a realistic goal to set for myself. So I take all the pressure off myself by just letting myself draw. I do my best and I get just as frustrated as the next person when a drawing looks like garbage, but I just dive into the next one and try to do better. That's what makes it fun: trying to do better, and trying to capture something entertaining and unique about every amazing individual I happen to see. So take the pressure off of yourself and just start trying. The more you draw, the more improvement you will see and the more fun it will become. And the better you get at drawing, the more drawing becomes second nature and you can focus on observation and really capture the beauty of real life, which should really be our goal, not filling books with perfect drawings.

Of course, mostly I try to capture a movement or a pose with the whole body of the subject. However, I can't help but draw a lot of faces as well. I see so many people for just an instant and I can't resist the impulse to try to capture their face and their character as it comes through in their face. I'm not very good at capturing likenesses but I am trying very hard to get better at that. Sometimes the feeling of the person comes through and that can be pretty pleasing.



Captured this guy at the movies, eating his popcorn rather intently.



More faces. This guy looked like an older, more tired version of Prince Charles.





Anyway, there you go. I'll scan some more stuff from my sketchbook for next time.

91 comments:

Mathieu said...

Damn you're absolutly right. Thnx for this post. I always have the tendency to do perfect drawings and leave out crappy ones.

Gonna start sketching all the time from now on. Thnx allot and keep posting these, they are just amazing.

Ciao
Mathieu Vierendeel
http://mathieuv.wordpress.com/

Bret said...

Excellent post as always, Mark. The "Hollywood" bit got copied to my quotebook. :)

Incidentally, if you or any readers here are interested in sharing your sketches, David Malki recently started a neat project called Scraps of Crap. Here's a description.

Ethan said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lee said...

this is a great post. I like the drawings too,
good show!

benwithcappuccino said...

thank you for this post..I am a very shy person and I'm never sated about my drawings..so my relation with the design is very turbolent, it always a frustration for me if I don't draw a perfect drawing, thank you..I must remember that I must learn and learn..

Julián höek said...

i used to draw on my sketch book all the time about a year ago specially because i had to travel like an hour and a half every afternoon to study animation in a school at the other side of town. i find a way to do the travels more pleacing and started to fill sketch books from the people in the train. i was great but after some time i notice that most of my drawing were looking boring and i realized that it was because all the people there were actually bored because they where returning home from a long day of work so i was drawing mostly people with the same expressions all the time (plus i also was a little bored for the long ride)
i haven't been doing it lately because i'm presuring myself about the quality of the drawings and what people would thing of them if they look at the sketch book. i once have a nice one with good quality paper and that was terrible for me because i felt guilty of doing unfinished sketches in there, like if every drawing have to be a rendered ilustration (very hard to do in a moving train!) and i didn't want to do bad drawings in there so it remained blank for a long time.
your post have took away some of that pressure and i'm definitly going to give it a new try. perhaps i should draw in other places besides the train. if you want to drop by through my blog and see some of those sketches i'll be glad, most of them are from a year ago then i stop posting couse i've been felling blocked.
your words are very encouraging!
thanks!
sorry for the English
Julian from Argentina

Stephen Ingram said...

Thanks for the excellent post.

While I do not sketch everyday I carry a Moleskine sketchbook with me all the time since late 2005. I’ve filled about 4 completely and the high quality paper is great to draw on and it takes pen and ink quite well.

There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment when you place a completed book on the shelf. It almost becomes a challenge when you past the half-way mark and feel compelled to complete it.

MrFun said...

Maybe artists should be more like my plumber who gives me a look of distain when I look over his shoulder.

As artists we're often too polite, aren't we?

Andreas said...

I carry my moleskine everywhere, but that doesn't mean I use it much. Ha ha. I really should get over the whole "people looking at me, and my work" fear. Need to work on that. Also afraid of people noticing I am looking at them and drawing them.

Made me think of Comic-Con a few years back listening to Marshall Vandruff talk about the role of a sketchbook in the development of an artist from a very personal viewpoint. One of the things he mentioned was the reaction from family at gatherings. They were used to his beautiful painstaking graphite illustrations, and when they saw him sketching, they asked to see what he was drawing. They thought he had lost it. He said it took him several sketch books to develop the skill needed to make good sketches. I have a friend who studied under him.

Marshall's Sketchbook samples

Graham said...

Wonderful post!

It's funny, but just today I had a discussion with a friend of mine about sketchbooks and not being afraid to make bad drawings.

I've started trying to detach myself from putting too much value on my doodles by giving them away or drawing on newspapers and then leaving them in coffee shops. I've found that if I can detach myself, I relax more when sketching and have more fun. Save the serious stuff for the really important drawings, right?

Again, awesome post. Please do some more!

Stephen said...

As I read this, I was hoping you would post some of your own sketchbook examples so I could see just what you were trying to describe. Thank you for posting this.

What size/type of sketchbook do you recommend for carrying around? Something small that can fit in a pocket, or something larger? It looks like you use a pen - do you always use a pen (what kind) or would you suggest a pencil for a beginner (what kind)?

I especially like the fact that you take a sketchbook to a darkened theater. That's dedication!

Thanks for this post. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Stephen
http://meetingedges.blogspot.com

Joe said...

Thanks for posting this. Just the kick in the pants I needed. Thanks again.

Yavuz said...

Man i tried so many times to carry my sketchbook wherever i was. Many times i forgotten it (sorry for my bad english). But the last time i accomplished to carry it, because i understood that it´s just a way to develop myself and my skills to draw.
And what you had written here is nearly the same things what walks in my mind.
You put it perfectly in words:)

Now i´m motivated to go outside and draw some people, no matter what happens.

I will post my drawings on my blog when i´m back. You can check if you like ;)

Goobeetsablog said...

Thank you for this post,
and all of the work you put into this blog.

I really enjoy and learn from the lessons you prepare. This last post is a good example of your ego-less approach to the fundamentals.

Wish art school was like that:)

edhead said...

Great post as always mark - I carry an A6 pad on me at all times and appreciate your views on other people's opinions - my take is I don't know them and in 10 minutes will never see them again anyway so why should I care. There are the odd people that are genuinely excited by it though - I gave an impromptu lesson on how to break down the head on the way to work on the london tube...
I've always found when I draw at the zoo that children are the best though - they're just impressed and amazed that you're trying to draw animals and seem to appreciate the toughness of capturing and analysing a moving object. It's the adults/parents I have a problem with - they look down their noses and sneer at you as if they anyone could do that and it was so far beneath them as to not bother trying! Why am I bothering with something so mundane!!!
Even within an animation studio it can be hard to make people appreciate what has gone into your sketches and how hard it can be - I went to the ballet last week and drew - made a page of gesture studies I am very pleased with, yet I too got the 'hmmm' treatment from people that don't try this at all and only can't see beyond the 'scribbles'!
sorry about the long comment - sketching is the only thing I do regularly so I loved this post! cheers.

chickennuggets said...

Hi Mark.

RoboTaeKwon-Z said...

Thank you for this post. You spoke my mind.
I actually have 2 or 3 sketchbooks. One for ideas, cartoony nonsense and that sort of thing, and then a couple of smaller carry around sketchbooks, that I just recently started drawing in.
I need to carry them more, though. And actually draw in them.
Ahem.

Bobby Pontillas said...

Super insightful post, so simple and relatable.

Gabriel said...

thanks a lot for this post, this was something i really needed to hear. I'm way too insecure about my work, i even abandoned my blog because of all of those amazing artist's site i visit daily. I've thought about getting a moleskine once and decided against it because i felt i would be think too much before drawing. It's such a cute (and expensive around here) little thing, I'd be constantly afraid of ruining it with ugly aborted scribbles. I've been using cheap notebooks until i think of something better.

Anyway, nice to hear i'm not alone with my troubles.

Allison said...

Great post. I carried a sketchbook around with me all throughout high school and I filled about 20 of them with a lot of complete paintings. I still draw in smaller ones but not as often. I do larger work now.

i also wanted to mention that i absolutely love reading your blog. it's one of the most inspiring, informative, sensible blogs i've ever happened across. I love the "things they didn't teach you in art school" posts--they really make me think and they challenge me in my own work. seriously---thanks man.

tek! said...

i was a sketchbook addict for years.
but the biggest trap is , as you said too, that you want to make every picture pretty and good looking . For me that was mainly because i was drawing in blank BOOK.
like a book is something holy.
So I switched to a4 pads and
i'm feeling much more free now, no fear of heaving a 'bad' page, i can rip papers out etc.

dolls like us said...

I am a writer as well as a artist and I feel I should carry a note pad with me. I think of good things to write about when I am out and forget them later . My writing flows better sometimes when I am not trying just thinking. My artwork is mostly done on the computer so I have to be in front of it to work . But I think of concepts when I am not in front of my computer .

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great and liberating post! Reading your entry about the problems encountered during sketching, making bad drawings, people watching, etc. really took a weight off my shoulders.
Thank you.


Does anyone else have people think you work at the zoo since you're carrying a sketchbook?

mackaydesign said...

Awesome post. I completely agree with you. I've filled up numerous little moleskine sketchbooks in the past two years since I started at Art Center and I did so mainly for the reasons you describe. I'll just add that posting the sketches on my blog has helped me to "Get over myself" and lose the fear of showing my work. Thanks again for telling the truth about sketchbooks! BTW, I love the description of your wife's friend looking at your book without asking and then asking half way through. I definitely relate!

mcglinch said...

Thanks for this post. I've been using my notepad at (my non-drawing related) job during meetings as a sketchbook and have learned to deal with - and appreciate - the comments I get. (being ale to stay engaged in the meeting conversation while doodling/sketching helps maintain employment!)

Last year, I started using a blog as a place to capture/display these doodles: www.mcglinch.com/blog.

AUGUSTUS said...

Wow, These responses completely validate what you've said; which is extremely comforting because I've often been a slave to these fears as well.

When you touched on the negative experiences from people making brash comments, it made me think... I have had some of those as well, but I've also had great interactions with people that were extremely flattering. Ironically, those interactions were almost as difficult because saying, "thank you," is much harder for me than simply believing their flattery.

Syd Mead said that sketches were meant for people artistically sophisticated enough to know the process and be able to visualize the finished result.

Also, a lot of you may know the anecdote about Michelangelo, which implies that he threw away most of his sketches at the end of his life. He said it was so people wouldn't know how hard he had to work.

Thanks for your blog, you've reminded me of some crucial things.

mark kennedy said...

thanks for all of the great responses and great thoughts. This post really touched a nerve, I can tell...I will answer all of the questions in a future post and I will talk about which sketchbooks I use and other stuff. I will post more sketchbook drawings too. It's great to hear so many of you are into sketching or are going to give it another shot. Please post a link if you have some sketchbook scans on your blog! I enjoyed seeing all of the ones so far, I'd love to see more.

BENGABO said...

Great advices on this blog.
To carry and draw on my sketchbook really change my life. Especially when i understood i could make unperfect drawings.

k. borcz said...

Thank you for posting this- I'm a worrier and will randomly carry a sketchbook but not be brave enough to take it out and draw people or things around me. There's just something frightening about letting people see me draw. It's nice to know that it's common to be afraid of sketchbook criticism. I think I'll be less afraid of drawing in public now.

chengwhich said...

great post. i am also hesitant about drawing in public, but this really encourages me to just go for it and learn to study life. I love reading your posts and have learned quite a bit. thanks!

per H said...

Thank you for pushing me forward!

J. R. Pickthall said...

Excellent - its like you read my mind. Non art types are often the most hurtful in their comments or lack there of where really you'd expect them to be more blown away, glad to see im not the only one who has suffered from this! Also I get terrified with a pretty new while stark sketchbook and put heaps of pressure on myself which take the fun out of it. So i'll bear that in mind. Thank you for your sagely views!

-J

dani said...

This is the greatest blog in the whole universe, thanks

and i love you

Skribbl said...

Hey when I saw you at the Meet the Robinsons wrap party you weren't sketching!!! :-P

Could you please design some clothing (shirt or pants) with a hidden pocket that could hold a good sized sketchbook? That would be RAD!

Ben Balistreri said...

I had a great illustration teacher named David Christiana who advicated sketching all the time but thought one should never under any circumstances show them to anyone.

His philosophy was that would help cure the need to do pretty drawings and allow the artist to concentrate on the types of observations you talk about in your very excellent post.

I don't know if I ever completely agreed with him. Mostly cause I love seeing other peoples rough sketches. Also it's pretty hard at the zoo not to get swarmed by kids seeing if your drawing Spongebob.

In any case, your post was really inspiring and I totally want to get over my own fears and start sketching again.

Cheers!

David Germain said...

Thanks for this post. Very inspiring.

Fernando said...

This is a great post.. thanks so much for the encouraging words... you are so right.. sketch book shouldn't be fill with pretty finish drawing but with fast quick sketches trying to capture things and details from whatever we draw...
This inspires me to take my SB more often with me and to make a rest from the mechanical use of computers to make animation

Matt J said...

Top post Mark. I was once drawing at the British Museum when a Japanese tourist guide peered curiously over my shoulder (I was sitting on the floor!)I continued drawing studiously until he said 'very good'. I turned, smiled & nodded politely. I then realised surrounding him was an entire bus load of Japanese tourists who all started chanting 'very good, very good'!!
I don't know if they knew what they were saying but I took it as a compliment.

Another time, drawing animals at London Zoo I had a 'celebrity' shoulder- vulture - once famous boxer Prince 'Naz' Naseem & his kids. He didn't seem too impressed with my feather-weight sketches.

Mitch K said...

Thank god somebody else feels this way! Thank you.

Hatem said...

might be the greatest post i've read in a long time.. i totally agree..i still beat the fear of people by bringing a friend with me haha.. but sometimes i'm alone and i think a lot before taking out my sketchbook out of the bag..
sketching is very important.. and sometimes i use it for reference and it would look like a very lame unskillful sketch..but i can see what serves me , it's like a very important thing that you don't wanna forget but written in a hurry with rather bad handwritting haha
thank you a lot for that post!

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

These are great, Mark(and I'm not just saying that, heh)...and a very inspiring post--one of your best, I think.

Funny, because recently I've been having those little painful moments you describe...and they really don't matter, but ouch! You just can't help that little sting when you see the disappointment in someone's face who asks so eagerly to see your book. What the hey!

It doesn't help that it seems that I'm always surrounded by geniuses with nary a lousy/false start in their packed Moleskinies. ; ) Tough, but one must plow onwards!
As for the great unwashed, as Bob called them--here's my favorite: 1987, drawing at the zoo, minding my own business. Middle aged lady walks up, seems intently interested in my sketching...asks "are you an artist?" I reply in affirmative. Then she says, quite smugly(in that tone of a 3rd grade teacher--which is what she looked like--telling you your math answer was wrong) :
"You know, all real artists draw from photographs!"
You don't say, says I.
"Oh, yesssssh!" says she.
Brother!

MisterZoobadoo said...

great post. I actually found myself sitting in a restaurant waiting for someone. and I DIDN'T have a sketchbook. I didn't know what to do with myself. Paper napkins and borrowed pens work well too ...

Terry Beatty said...

Remarkable posts -- these sketchbook essays. I've shared them with my students, and I could see your points sinking in with them as I read them aloud. I'll be saving these and sharing them with my classes for as long as I'm teaching....

chris chua said...

Awesome post, Mark....I try to sketch as much as I can and this post has totally inspired me. Keep up the great post and lovely drawings as well:)

Anonymous said...

Great post!! I found it so inspiring that I translate it into Spanish for sharing with other people in a forum. Is there any problem with that? Do you think I should remove it?

You can see it at the bottom of this page:

http://www.3dpoder.com/foro3dpoder/showthread.php?t=44344&page=4


Thank you very, very much!!!

Marta said...

Sorry, I think there was a problem with the link:

http://www.3dpoder.com/foro3dpoder/-
-showthread.php?t=44344&page=4

I would like to translate the other posts about sketchbooks... May I public them?

Thank you again :)

df said...

thanks for sharing your sketchbook and thoughts on carrying one. I take a small moleskine everywhere, but my favorite one is my daily weather report that I do quickly in the morning.
When I saw David Hockney's sketchbooks at LACMA last year, I realized that sketchbooks are not about nice little finished drawings and really should be for working out/jotting down ideas.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

You are one thousand percent right about EVERYTHING you said, especially the kids! they will say in a minute, that sucks under their breath! but loud enough for you to hear it! LOL! I do a LOT of public drawing in my sketchbooks that i post on my subwaysurfer blog
www.subwaysurfer.com
recording peoples comments and expressions makes a dull ride a great adventure> I really needed to read this blog tonight because lately Ive been doing some "bad" drawigns in my book and feeling like they should be "better" thanks for reminding me that it aint about making "perf4ect" drawings.

dintoons said...

awesome awesome post!thanx so much mark!!
i make it a point to always carry a little sketchbook(6"x4") in my pocket... and this post is a confirmation of the unending joys of doing so!
thanx again! :D

Clay Kaytis said...

Mark, you're a genius. I go through all these experiences (still) but the pain is worth it. My favorite part of looking back on old sketches is that the moment of the drawing rushes back to me, even years later, with far more reality than even a photo can muster. It's a wonderful way to store moments that would otherwise have been lost forever.

I've had the bad habit of talking down my drawings for years. When the strangers on the street ask to see my sketchbook, I panic and the first thing I blurt out (as if it's going to scare them away) is, "They're not very impressive." I guess it's to lower their expectations and raise the quality of their response, but it's really a waste of breath because most people truly appreciate the effort.

The time I didn't like having my sketchbook was in Rome. One evening, my wife was resting at the room so I decided to go draw at the Spanish Steps. A local looking guy strolled over, in broken English asked to see my drawings, and seemed very impressed. He said, "They are very beautiful ... like you." Zoiks! I turned him away as nicely as I could and then ran back to the safety of my hotel. Not what I expected, but still a moment that would have never existed without my sketchbook.

G1toons said...

not sure why i did not read this earlier, but now i will everytime i do a play blast i shall read, thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom

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hello Mark,

its been quite some time i have been frequenting your blog. have a blog of my o0wn in which i started posting very recently,having got inspired from your blog.

i qute appreciated the ways and means you talked about the importance of a sketch-book for aq visual communicator. I have been doing the same for years now...butr have started posting off late.
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Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post!
This is what I need as an animation student, with perfectionist standards. Its so great having someone give you these tips, and knowing that you are not the only one who feels shy.
The ppl I know who sketch in public tend to be very aloof about it all as if its an easy task. I'm shy and hate showing my crappy drawings. Now I'm definitely going to enjoy drawing.
Thank you!
Your sketches are so good!(and I'm not being polite)

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Ink-Sketch said...

Thank you for the article. You have articulated what I've suspected. I do carry around a sketchbook but do not draw in it as much as I should. I do more jotting down of ideas/lists. I will concentrate more on the sketches though as I do believe that the sketches I have done have been very helpful. More is better. Thank you for the post and I look forward to more.

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Will Culpepper said...

I do something similar by posting a sketch on twitter every day with the hashtag #iSketchADay. Sometimes they're good art, sometimes poor, but I try to learn something new every time.

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