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My Sketching Resolution

Self Portrait, 1987Thanks to Witold Riedel's weblog (mentioned on Friday) I've come to a decision about one resolution or goal for the year 2004 -- doing regular analog sketching. Just paging through scan's of Witold's work, I began to think about the amount of sketching I'd managed to do in 2003, which was not terribly much.

I should clarify that by sketching I mean exploratory or observatory sketching as an art form, and a an end in itself, rather than the normal required sketching ideas for design projects I work on during business hours. Of course those work-driven sketches are good and very useful, but are done for a project as a means to an end and not as an end in themselves.

No, beyond these purposeful work sketches, I now realize I must do more sketching for the fun of it. Sketching to explore ideas I have in my mind and sketching to process what I am observing in my environment. As a creative person, letting my mind explore ideas and improve my observational skills through sketching is, I think, a good therapeutic function. It seems to be good exercise for the creative and visual part of my mind, just as reading, keeping a journal and a weblog are good exercise for the verbal part of my mind.

When I think back to times when I was sketching regularly, I recall that it significantly improved my creativity at work. I believe sketching got my creative juices flowing regularly, making it much easier to produce creative solutions to problems.

Back In my college days, professor Bonifay loved to carry a huge 9x12 inch bound sketchbook and a black Sheaffer fountain pen around. He could be found sketching during his free time, scribbling away in his behemoth black book. In class, Bonifay encouraged us to become sketchers.

This was inspiring to me as a young design student and artist, so I took his advice to heart, and bought my own large bound book and Sheaffer pen. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all. Those college years were some of my most creative, and I think it had quite a bit to do with my sketching habit.

During and after college I tended to do my sketching during travels. I loved to capture places and people visually along with capturing them verbally. I've enjoyed the sketching process during my travels, so I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that regular sketching might be beneficial all of the time. Duh! :-)

So, I have now pulled my Moleskine notebook off of the bookshelf. Starting today, I'll begin regular fun sketching. Being inspired by Witold, I think I'll scan my sketches and feature them here, just to share what's happening in my sketch life. Hopefully others can enjoy these explorations and might be encouraged to begin sketching themselves.

Thanks Witold for the re-inspiration! :-)

FYI: the sketch in the upper right corner is a self portrait, done in my big black college sketchbook, circa 1987.

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