So I have a lot of tools.
Stacks of paper, containers full of brushes, cartons of paint…etc.
I do use it all (eventually) but various paints and papers usually rotate in and out of usage every few months, as I get the itch to try something new.
Recently I’ve been answering a number of questions on the types of artistic implements I use, how I use them, and my basic opinion of aforementioned supply. It was with these inquiries in mind I decided to start a monthly feature on my current favorite *something*.
This month, it has to be the backbone of my work. The basis of my existence as an artist, the thing(s) I would grab from a burning building*, the reason why all my purses have to be so huge.
My beloved, much used sketchbooks.
I am currently using three books, each one for a different purpose. It may seem a bit over-organized, but I’ve learned over the last 10 years of wasted sketchbooks that I need to keep various things separate.
I’m totally envious of artists that can keep that one precious book of jumbled drawings, thumbnails, grocery lists and scheduling… but I just cant handle it. I crave a system.
|These guys are my life.|
So here’s a brief little synopsis on my three favorite sketchbooks for this month’s ‘My Favorite Stuff’:
If you follow me on Instagram (@ellen_the_lemon) the top and bottom book should be pretty familiar.
The top book is my ‘list’ book where I organize my to-dos, plan posts, block off days for commission work, take notes… anything written goes in here. It’s a soft-covered Moleskine, velvety pages perfect for quick scribbling of plans. The paper has very subtle dotting which helps to keep my scrawled plans and hastily doodled thumbnails in order. I’ve been using it since the beginning of September and it’s roughly a quarter of the way filled.
The bottom book is part of the Pantone/Moleskine collaboration, purchased in Barcelona back in February. I spent awhile looking for a link for the book and I was horrified to find that I don’t think it’s available anymore. I love this book. Sure, a lot of the emotion of using it is knowing where I was when it was purchased, the places it went overseas before coming home, etc, but it is also just a very well designed drawing surface. The pages are the happiest pale yellow paper ever. It begs to be filled with sketches, drawings, letter practice — everything literally looks great on this paper. The coloration also keeps me from taking the insides too seriously. It’s not a fresh white canvas, ready for a masterpiece (hello anxiety) but a worn, friendly page that just needs a doodle or two.
The middle book is also a moleskine (keeping with a theme here I guess) but it is designed specifically for watercolors. This is the book I’ve had the longest of the three and has accompanied me on three different trips overseas. I don’t use it for serious watercolor paintings as the binding makes it a bit difficult to scan properly, but as a watercolor sketch book more-or-less. (99% of my watercolors started out as experiments on these pages.)
Moleskine uses some very nice watercolor paper, thankfully taking pigment on both sides– so its perfect for a mess of paintings and inkwork. I’ve drenched a few sheets in layers after layers of wash and it’s held up extremely well. This books’ pages are nearly completely filled so I’ll be in the market for a replacement soon, and it will definitely be the same.
What about you? Have a favorite trusty sketchbook? I love to see where other artists store their thoughts, notes and doodles. Post yours to instagram with the #favoritesketchbook and let’s see what everyone is using!
*inanimate thing. Obviously, husband, ferrets and bird come first.