Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sketching with Tom Heard -- and A Prize!


Tom Heard is here to talk to you about something that scares me to death. No, not spiders (however, spiders are quite scary). Tom is here to talk about the dreaded sketchbook. I know, I should have saved this post until Halloween! In all seriousness, sketching is one of the most important parts of creating art. It's scary because it's something that has to be done. Get ready to bloody... er muddy that white page and learn more about sketching from a fantastic illustrator!

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A sketchbook is a library of ideas. Drawing every day and recording what you see around you; be that through written or visual means is arguably the most productive thing you can do to generate ideas. Keeping a sketchbook on you at all times is essential, you never know when that next ‘big’ idea will arrive and it’s always useful to record any ideas or thoughts you may have straight away. This will soon develop into a habit and before you know it you’ll have created a library of observations, reference and ideas without you really noticing. These can then be utilised as a series of starting points for your picture book idea that you may wish to develop or explore at a later date.

Personally, it is the process of recording in your sketchbook and not necessarily the result that is most beneficial. Your sketchbook is a safe environment to experiment, be that with new materials, techniques or subject matter. I have quite often found that stretched outside one’s comfort zone often yields far greater learning of your craft and eventually results as well!

So, you’re ready to rekindle your relationship with your sketchbook. You’ve viewed countless sketchbooks online of illustrators you admire, maybe brought yourself a new sketchbook and sharpened those pencils. Now, what to draw? Well, just draw anything! You never know when what you have recorded will be referred to for future use, so make sure you record everything that you are interested in. Drawing from observation is something every illustrator should be continually practising. It also provides a great starting point; discovering how something works through drawing it, incorporating a variety of viewpoints and angles really develops your ability to draw. When drawing from observation, the idea of starting is more important than finishing.

Ultimately, the format of your sketchbook is up to you, be that analogue or digital; I recommended that portability is key. Currently I am swapping between a cheap A5 sketchbook for out of the studio and my recent purchase of a Cintiq Companion 2 that is perfect for doodling on the evenings in front of the television, (I’ve just finished Stranger Things on Netflix – highly recommended!) Sketches can then be refined and developed in Adobe Photoshop should I wish to work on my ideas further. I hope you’ve found this useful and I’ve included below a few useful hints and tips that I’ve discovered when working within a sketchbook:


  • You may decide to buy a sketchbook or even make your own, personally I always buy cheap. This way I’m not hung up on creating perfection on each page, instead, I feel much more relaxed when drawing.
  • When starting a new page, I will often divide it into two or three parts, it can be intimidating working on a blank sheet of paper. A sketchbook will be full of fragments, embrace it!
  • Don’t be too precious over your sketchbook, this can stifle creativity. Not all of the pages will be worth looking at.
  • Feel guilty if you haven’t spent time on your sketchbook each week. Guilt should be used as a powerful motivator! 

  • Give yourself limits – whether limiting yourself to selected media or possibly using a single colour, quite often a small sense of structure can free up creativity. 

  • Have fun!
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Prize

One lucky winner will win a prize package including "Get the Wiggles Out", "Let's Cooperate" and a signed A4 print.

To win this prize you must comment on this post!



21 comments:

  1. My A5 sketchbook is getting a work out with different shots and angles for my picture book dummy.

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  2. Don't be intimidated by the sketchbook! I have several but prefer to keep the fancy ones for something that feels more official like painting practice or sketching what I see. For general play & planning I usually use copy paper on a clipboard with lots of colored fine tip markers. Full pages go into folders or Duotangs. Also loving John Hendrix's Drawing is Magic for those days when I don't know what to sketch.

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  3. Tom's right, making that first mark on a clean page is scary. I also sketch or doodle while watching TV. I find the distraction keeps me from over working the drawing... all good points, thanks Tom

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  4. Thanks, Tom. I need this little push. I've been needing a few things from the art store. This article has inspired me to make the trip today - and I'm adding sketchbook to the list!

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  5. I have so many sketchbooks i keep loosing track of which one i last doodled in. I'll definitely have a look at those pages one of these evenings.

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  6. My sketchbook has taken on a life of its own...finally!

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  7. This is s great post and a great reminder! I need to make a better habit of sketchbooking daily!

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  8. I do not want to enter for the price, but I love this article. Sometimes the most important things are the most obvious. I just love the reminder. I needed that. Thanks!

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  9. Dani, you and Tom are hilarious! I do have an ideas sketchbook but I am bad about remembering to sketch every day, or from whatever is around me. But I am no stranger to being guilted, so I will try harder to let guilt motivate me. ;)

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  10. What is an A5 sketchbook? I carry a 3.5 x 5 sketchbook with me everywhere and pull it out to draw in whenever and wherever I have to wait. I do not like to have people ask to look at it though because it is so random with doodles and zentangles mixed in with people sketches and landscapes with more colour notes than lines!!!

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  11. What is an A5 sketchbook? I carry a 3.5 x 5 sketchbook with me everywhere and pull it out to draw in whenever and wherever I have to wait. I do not like to have people ask to look at it though because it is so random with doodles and zentangles mixed in with people sketches and landscapes with more colour notes than lines!!!

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  12. Great post! I currently have sketchbooks scattered throughout my house, so I definitely second the vote for cheap sketchbooks! :)

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  13. Thanks for the post! In my mind I sketch everyday, but not always in my sketchbook--but thanks for the reminder of how important that is. I always use cheap sketchbooks--then I don't mind messing up (at least not so much)

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  14. It is so fun seeing how much you can do in 1 year if you put in the time!

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  15. Thanks for the great sketchbook advice!

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  16. Please don't enter me for the prize as I live in Thailand and overseas shipping rates are very high. But I just wanted to thank you - encouraging and inspiring stuff!

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  17. Love sketchbooks. I have so many and should organize them. Thanks

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  18. Thank you for the post. In high school and in college they stressed this over and over, but I have to say, I have neglected the routine. It is true. Pratice, pratice, pratice. I will keep this as a reference for future reminders.

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  19. Thanks for the great advice. I draw so much for my job, I forget to just sketch for fun. I would love to be included in the prize.

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  20. Thanks. I kind of hate looking back in my sketchbook at terrible drawings. I suppose those can be powerful motivators too--to keep practicing!

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  21. Great tip on digital sketching in front of the tube!

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