Tools of the Trade : Sketchbooks

I admit I have a weakness for sketchbooks. I’m always tempted to buy one whenever I see them – I like their lovely ‘new’ smell and all those pristine white pages waiting to be filled. There’s one though that I haven’t yet used – its a cute little square one and I love it so much I’m frightened of spoiling it! Most of my sketchbooks though are workhorses – as they should be.

So……what’s inside my sketchbooks? Well they’re not pristine miniature works of art that’s for sure. I use them in lots of different ways : working out shapes and compositions, trying out new colour combinations, trying out new materials like water soluble graphite or watercolour pencils.

But the most fun of all is taking them with me on days out and holidays, sketching in the fresh air. I do always take photos when we go anywhere but sitting and doing a sketch settles me into the landscape and my surroundings and I’m able to absorb a lot more detail. I’m able to capture the scene in a way a camera never can and somehow the atmosphere and feelings of the place are reflected in a different way in a sketch.

When I look through my sketchbooks they’re like illustrated travel journals recording local beauty spots like Snowdonia and Bodnant Garden in North Wales, visits to the Tatra Mountains in Poland, holidays in Italy, Norway and France and many other places. Look at the sketches and you’re right back there in an instant!

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