Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Sketchbook Project...

Quite a few months ago, I signed up for this curious project. Fill an 80 page sketchbook on one theme, send it to Brooklyn, and become part of a traveling sketchbook/library show. Awesome, right? I chose my theme: "It's Raining Dogs and Cats" and that sounds perfect for me. Fun!

Problem: 80 pages seems like nothing when you don't have all those blank pages staring you in the face. I have a hard enough time keeping my own sketchbook and have books that last me years, if not a decade. Needless to say, I've learned a few valuable lessons from my endeavor:

1. Do NOT compare yourself to other artists.
Artists have been posting their sketchbook art on their blogs all along and there is some fantastic stuff out there, really! It's SO intimidating. But everyone has a different learning curve, and a different opinion about what a sketchbook should be.

2. Do NOT wait until the last minute to complete your work.
It turns out very obviously rushed. 

3. Above all, make sure you have FUN exploring.
That's what sketchbooks are for after all! Get messy and so what if it looks like a five year old drew a few pages (hehe....errmm).

That being said, I had to give myself a few rules because I was so busy that I only gave myself one week to complete almost the entire book...
1. No planning - wing it and explore.
2. No rulers.
3. No feeling sorry for yourself.
4. Learn to use a brush pen. (This was a bit challenging in the earlier sketches and then I ran out of ink, which brings me to my next point...)
5. Don't be lazy. - (When the brush runs out of ink, change it. When you'd rather play video games, too have work to do.)
6. (long term) Keep sketching!
Toward the end, I realized I need to tell some sort of story, so I used the last few pages to do some quick comic panels. Here they are, along with some randoms! Enjoy and thanks for reading :)

I just finished the cover!

I cut it out and glue sticked it to the front cover of the sketchbook - I sure hope that holds up ;) 
Timmy is having a hard time letting go of his FACE. :)

The Sketchbook Project: 2011


  1. Love the little comic at the end. It's like a happy sweet dessert at the end of a meal. I hope you'll post more from your sketchbook!

    I guess they're no longer using the pocket Moleskine cahiers for the Sketchbook Project? This looks like a larger format.

  2. So awesome for you take on this project, Renee. I saw the book today and loved it—this made for a great blog post, too!

    Keep sketching away! It's good to get all these doodles and comics on paper. You'll appreciate it even more looking back.

  3. Wow! Such great character in your cat and dog (last image is my fave). I've been working on my sketchbook mostly over the past week for this same project, and I absolutely agree with your lessons. Hope we all keep up the sketching!

  4. I am so SO impressed!!!! I have the same problem you mentioned. My sketchbooks can last me years (I have one that's gotta be 20 years old and still isn't full). The fact that you filled 80 pages in a week, just boggles my mind. Then add to that, it is filled with adorableness and... well, I bow to you Sketching Queen. ;-)

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  5. I am so glad I'm not the only one who's sketchbook remains unfinished for years! It's very intimidating to fill a sketchbook by a deadline, especially when there are other artists out there who fill sketchbooks like it's nothing. You've made a great accomplishment! Awesome work, Renee!

  6. Wow, thank you so much everyone. I had no idea this post would have so much impact. I'm very glad at this moment that I didn't give up. :) But you know that I'm showing only my favorite illustrations - there are plenty of horrible ones that make me want to hide under a blanket haha!

    Christina - the sketchbook is 5.25x8.25 and is very thin. The paper is almost too thin! Did it used to be different?

  7. It looks great!!!! I'm the same way with my sketchbooks. I'm so happy you finished! This project was a great lesson in letting go of perfection for a lot of us, I think. It sounds like we all suffer from the same issues as creatives. Great post!!

  8. HAHA oh poor Timmy didn't want to see the sketchbook go out the door.

    The sketchbook turned out awesome, now keep up the ink doodles!