Sep 23, 2014

Podcastiness & Sketchbookery

First off, I have great news! Gord and I recorded our inaugural podcast a last week and, amazingly, it wasn't a horrible mess of stutters, giggles and gibberish. It wasn't half bad actually.

Now all I have to do is put on my editor's cap and work out how to turn that raw file into a serviceable podcast, resplendent with music, an introduction and a bit of polish here and there.
Give us a couple of weeks to work out the kinks and we should have an actual, proper podcast on our hands. I'm excited about it and I'm really looking forward to recording future episodes with Gord.

And we decided on a name, too. We went with, after much deliberation, 'Gord & Jay Talk Art.'
We chose that name because we like the fact that it says exactly what it is on the tin. The podcast ain't trying to be something it isn't. It's a podcast that involves to friends talking about art.
So apart from the required editing, we still have a logo to design.
Here is my first swing at it:
I think I can safely conclude that I leave a lot to be desired as a graphic designer. But I'm okay with that. There are plenty of great graphic designers out there already.
Gord is going to be trying his hand at the logo too, naturally. He's really good with this sort of thing, so don't expect to see my above lame attempt anywhere else but right here!

When we get closer to launch date, I'll let you know.
Exciting times, these.

The other thing I wanted to talk about in this post is a subject I've been mulling over for a while now and I think it may solve some issues I've been encountering with my artwork in general. That thing being... sketchbooks.

I used to love working in sketchbooks. I always went for an A4 size one, hardback and with a green cover if it could be helped at all. Back then (we're talking the late 90's and early 00's), I wasn't the most prolific of artists, as I've mentioned before, so I didn't really fill that many sketchbooks really, maybe 3 or 4 big ones. I've still got them in a box somewhere, I'll have to pull them out and post some stuff here. Maybe one of those book flipping videos would be good too.

But anyway, somewhere along the way, I fell out of using sketchbooks and went for single sheets of paper in their stead. This was probably around the time when I started getting really serious about making a career in art. I think I took the conscious decision to stop with the sketchbook stuff, and just concentrate on making complete images.
I think this was like 50% a mistake. Sure, I created a lot of finished artwork, much more than I used to. But I think I should have continued with the sketchbook work AS WELL.

The reason I think I should have kept at the sketchbooks is for several reasons.
Firstly, sketchbooks are just fun. You can doodle little nothings all you want, or work out a difficult composition, a complex character design, or just let your hand make the decisions for you. The sketchbook is where an artist should feel uninhibited (not that they should feel otherwise elsewhere too, of course), an artist should let it all hang out in a sketchbook.
Secondly, you look cool walking along with a sketchbook in hand. I've heard that chicks dig it, but have had no experience with such a response.
Third, a sketchbook is considerably more neat and tidy than a bunch of loose sheets of paper.
Finally, there is something magical about a sketchbook. To look at an artist's sketchbook is to look, in a very real sense, into their soul. It's where ideas are born and problems are solved.

How an artist fills a sketchbook can vary greatly. I tend to be a fairly neat sketchbooker. I look at each page as a little piece of canvas itself. So my pages tend to be tidy and even compositional in quality. I like to work up the drawings to a degree higher than a sketchbook probably requires, but that is just me. I've seen many sketchbooks similar to mine in this regard. It's as if a sketchbook is a piece of art itself, and some artists, including myself, want to put on a good show.

The type of sketchbook used is another important element. As I said, I used to go with the A4 sized ones. But now, I find them far too big and clunky for what I want. I like to be able to fold a page, and page in the sketchbook, completely flat, to be able to fold it over, even. Hardcovers aren't great for that, especially ones with hundreds of thick pages.
I also like a more compactly sized sketchbook. One that can fit nicely into the smallish sachel I use every day. I've purchased many sketchbooks in the hope that they were the perfect fit for what I require in a sketchbook. But no matter how nice they all were, they all had at least one fatal flaw that I found too restrictive or even prohibitive at times. The main fault was in the fact that the sketchbooks I bought wouldn't fold out flat or over on themselves. This is a big problem for me and it stopped some truly lovely sketchbooks making the grade.

But I think, after much searching, I have found my brand. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, the Moleskine Kraft Brown XLarge Plain Cahier!

And it gave me a chance to use one of my Art Order stickers too!
These delicious sketchbooks come in packs of three, each with 120 white pages. The cover is made of toned cardboard that is very flexible, with exposed stitching on the spine. Each sketchbook measures 21 x 24.7cm, or 7.5 x 10in for those not on the superior metric system.
I really like them. I'm using one for my everyday sketching and another for the Dr. Sketchy sessions.

Now, they aren't invincible, mind. I haven't tried using watercolours on one of them yet, but I imagine it wouldn't hold up very well. I did find that markers bleed through pretty quickly on them too. But that's okay, I'll probably go ahead and use watercolours on them anyway, but mostly use them for pencil and pen.

Here are a couple of very recent pages-

Yes, the Faerie Stones are back!
Anyway. I'm really enjoying sketchbooking again. It's been far too long. I think that if I can be more consistent with the sketchbook work, in both the frequency and how I approach it, I think my bigger work can only benefit from it.
But the big reason for me getting back into using a sketchbook is so that I can really try and develop a mode of regularity with drawing. I want and need to draw more, using a sketchbook every day is part of creating that habit. I'll be writing about making an artistic routine in a later post, it might even make its way into a podcast (now that I have that awesome option).

But before I go, I wanted to say hello to my two newest followers. Greetings, CathyRae and Grandma Sandy! You are both most welcome here.

Back soon.

No comments: