Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The last page of a sketchbook

I usually don't sketch very much. Don't get me wrong, I do plenty of rough passes for characters, locations & animations. It's just that I don't sketch much for sketching's sake. I don't make a point of "keeping fit", as it were. I draw a lot, but almost all of it is for a particular purpose. Almost everything I illustrate or animate is an 'asset', something that is designed to go into a game, a poster, something of that nature.

As a result of this, I haven't used a sketchbook very much. For me a sketchbook is a place in which I can solve problems, try ideas, or draw something for my own interest, and I really don't draw enough things for my own pleasure or education. But that's because I only ever started drawing in order to create games. That's where my interest in drawing began in general, so it makes sense that my drawing energy largely goes towards my work.

That being said, I have one blank page left in my current sketchbook, and looking back over the pages of this sketchbook has been quite a satisfying experience. The fact is that this book has lasted me for several years, and as a result of that I can see my interests over those years memorialized in these pages. Here's where I started trying to learn how to shade with hatching. Here's some preliminary sketches for Old Skies, for Nighthawks. Here's where I was teaching myself how to do nice lettering so that I could do nice signs in locations without having to rely on fonts. Here's a page of just shoes. Some pages were torn out and stuck inside letters to friends. Some pages have random notes written on them, or just a few scribbled tests of a new pen or pencil.

I'm currently working my way up to drawing the last few characters for Nighthawks as that project moves into the later stages of production, and as I have not drawn portraits in a very long time, I have been doing a few pencil studies in my sketchbook to get over the intimidation of such a task, and as a result have just about finished this sketchbook off. And having not drawn much at all for my own education, interest, or practice in a matter of months, I have to say that it's quite nice. I think it would be quite empowering to form a habit of doing this more often, just basic practice of basic skills that I know are a weakness of mine, or studies of artists whose style I admire very much, or just... drawing for the sake of it. I've been good at forming habits this year - I bake bread weekly now, and keep a daily journal, and generally have been pretty good at being quite diligent in many other areas. With that in mind, and my enjoyment of sketching as re-discovered in the past few days, I've ordered myself a nice new sketchbook, in the hopes that I can make regular sketching in it a routine part of my daily life.

No doubt we'll all share a chuckle about these aspirations when I'm blowing dust off it in four months time. Here's a few fun images taken from the various pages of my almost-complete sketchbook for you to enjoy. Meanwhile, I've got one last page to go and fill.


Francesco said...

Excellent and revealing sketches! I especially like the one where you experiment with parallel lines, always nice to see how something that simple changes the vibe of the picture.

Ben304 said...

Thank you sir! I find that parallel hatching style quite mysterious and excellent, the artists who use it very well are very inspiring to see.