The great Pixar film, The Incredibles has a scene where the evil Syndrome figures out Mr. Incredible's plan to get him 'monologuing', or talking endlessly about himself. Sketchbook(ing) is not monologuing, it is not a diary and it most certainly isn't doodling. That last word, beginning with a 'd', will never be spoken of again because it conjures up the worst images possible of what visual thinking and artmaking is all about. A sketchbook is the most useful tool I have ever used to inspire ideas and challenge my work.
A sketchbook has been my constant companion since my first serious art experience, studying in the Art Gallery of Ontario Summer Scholarship program in High School. 35 years of sketchbooking.
But it is the last 5 years that I want to explore in the coming posts on this site. The 9 sketchbooks that span 2008-2013 are an experiment and a visual game that changed my understanding of what a sketchbook is or can be.
In 2008, I picked up a small Moleskine sketchbook, I had to go into a meeting in my role as a Professor and director of a Degree program in Illustration. I opened the sketchbook and noticed it had multiple boxes or panes printed on each page. My first thought was, 'Oh crap. Stupid storyboard book.' As the meeting progressed I just used the boxes to divide up topics, like a TV dinner tray for overcooked potatoes, syrupy peaches, and gray slices of gravy encrusted meat. But, dammit the open space in the boxes and my own hard-wired need to address a frame of reference kicked in and I made some drawings. They were silly drawings of characters with hats or heads filled with type, but they would change...