Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do you use a sketchbook?

Recently I was going through old sketch books attempting to identify so different patterns of creativity. I don't generally sketch out as many ideas for my jewelry or beads as I do work out ideas for my paintings and other work.

I found my sketchbook I kept in my very first jewelry class and was really taken by how much my ideas took shape over the pages. I thought I would share some from the very first project from my metals class took shape.

A large part of my senior thesis in painting had to do with birds. Here is one sketch where I was working out ideas for a painting.

The requirements of this first project was to complete a piece using cutting-and-piercing metal and any cold connections. Here you can see where I was working out different ideas for the sawed parts and various designs that did not make "the cut".

In between sketches, there were brief little pages of notes that I took in class or wrote down the names of artists whose work inspired me. A neat little hint that I wrote at the bottom is to bend wire solder at the end into a semblance of the shape of the letter rather than attach a label that will most like fall off before you finish the length of solder.

Here you can see my final idea and a tiny mock up I made beforehand. This specific professor often encouraged us to make models or mock ups before we began to help us work out specific design problems that might arise during the process. (That's a polaroid of me a friend took at the time! I can't believe I ever had hair that short!)


Here is an image of the finished pendant. I'm still not good at tube rivets! Finished piece: Copper,  Nickel, Cardboard, Laser Printed Acetate, Feather, Stamping, and Texturing.

After reminiscing through this old sketchbook, I'm excited to begin trying more mock ups and design sketches as I work on a piece.


Do you keep a sketchbook of your jewelry ideas? Do you sketch items out or make models to avoid potential design flaws? I'd love to hear if you do!

14 comments:

Julie Holmes said...

This is a very time appropriate post for me Barbara. I never have used a sketch book reliably. I'm taking an acrylic painting class at the moment and the teacher has emphasized more than once...carry a sketchbook with you! He says it's the best tool for capturing inspiration, remembering ideas and preserving a moment of ah ha! Love that pendant you made!

Barbara said...

Julie, it is very very important. The older I get and the more work I do, the more value I find in it.

Remember, it doesn't have to be beautiful or full of tight beautiful drawings. Even a simple notepad will do if it works for you to make notes rather than draw. Trust me, most of my sketchbooks are horrid and only half full. There might only 1-2 pages I even would show someone!

mairedodd said...

i absolutely, positively keep a journal... because it is often in the quiet of night that i get ideas - and too many times i thought to myself that i would remember in the morning and didn't... there is all kinds of 'stuff' in there - and it can be fun to revisit and see if you actually did anything with the ideas or not - or if they kept developing and evolved...
but i don't do mock ups - i will work through designs, but not execution... maybe i should, but i almost feel like it is in those moments of doubt that ideas/solutions can emerge that i hadn't thought of - under that pressure, you know? and perhaps i feel like it would make it feel too planned - when i really enjoy there being a wabi sabi element to what i end up with...
i loved seeing pages from your journal - thanks so much, barbara!

Spirited Earth said...

i'm from a painting background and it was stressed to always carry a sketch book..but that was before digital cameras and phone cameras..i now take photos of whatever catches my interest, for later referal..i may sketch out the logistics for an idea..but i don't like to follow a set design..things can happen while working on a piece that may take you in delightfully different directions than first planned.

BluMoon said...

I have various sketchbooks I use them for my jewellery designs and especially elaborate art necklaces. I have other small ones I take in the garden with me to capture a flower or leaf, seeds buds nothing is safe from my pencil lol. Then I like to take one in the car just in case I see something and want to jot it down, although I do take the camera when I remember to.
I was bought up to use a sketch book for painting and drawing so it is a life habit with me.
Jackie

Barbara said...

Thank you all! I think everyone translates the sketchbook idea in a different way...Jackie, I keep multiple books too, some are full of lists and notes ranging anywhere from song lyrics to bad sketches to grocery lists and other I try to keep more artful. I think the best way is whatever works for you.

About the mock ups...I am with you Maire and Nan, I try to keep much more room for error and exploration of mistakes or happy accidents rather than plan so heavily but more often than not now, I end up with a pile of things that don't get finished because I haven't found a good solution... What I found interesting about the fact with the mock up was that it allowed me to economize on supplies and see whether the "bones" were there....i.e. did I allow enough room for the rivets, is the text I prepared the right style for my intention in my original idea....I distinctly remember when I made this little piece I showed here, that I thought the rivets would be much larger and they weren't and that was something (out of lack of experience) that wouldn't have been realized even with a mock up at that time...so, even with more planning, the happy accidents that lead to new discovery are also often realized.

I also don't plan hardly anything anymore...I go from idea right into material, so I thought it might be interesting to challenge myself to working through several ideas before committing to the expense of materials as I am prone to do currently.

Malin de Koning said...

Oh, I sketch down my ideas. But I am not so good at keeping a sketchbook. I sketch on whatever available at the time. I even have an app on my iPhone. I'm sure there are quite a few out there. The one I use is called DrawCast. You can draw and scribble in it from a fresh start. Or take a photo and scribble on that.

It also happens I only take a photo, of an arrangement or idea that happened to happen on my bead table as I was working on something else. I'd say that is my most common type of sketching. Live sketching kind of.

Or I'd take a photo of an object or something in nature that gives me inspiration.

As I draw/scribble on basically anything I have to make sure I gather my ideas in one place every now and then.

I really like to go through my own old ideas at times.

I do have sketchbooks of course, and sometimes I draw also in them, but most of the times they are not there when I get my ideas.

lunedreams said...

That focal is phenomenal! Love the "windows" with the different things in it. That orange peel texture in the copper is the perfect companion to the other side of the piece.

I do use a sketchbook, because I will definitely forget all my "bright ideas" I get during the day--usually ideas for an interesting way to attach something to something else, or for a bail or clasp or something. Sometimes I'll sketch out a whole piece but they so rarely end up looking like the sketch that I don't do that as much anymore. Unfortunately, if too much time goes by, my sketches become a complete mystery to me and I have no idea what I was thinking.

NuminosityBeads said...

I never have except for a class or two and really feel as if I should get into the practice. Same goes for lists or journals. I feel as if I'm really missing out on my own development somehow. One of these days....

Kelli said...

I tend to doodle on napkins, scraps of paper, whatever is handy when something strikes me. I keep it all in a folder. This past summer, I finally broke down and bought a litte handmade journal from another artist while working an art show. It stays in my purse so I no longer have to wonder...where's that napkin with the cool idea on it ???

stacilouise said...

I keep a million sketchbooks! I love to draw out my ideas, but they are not so organized. I keep wanting to start ONE, but its just not happening. inspiration usually hits when I only have a scarp of paper;)

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I really admire those of you who are disciplined enough to sketch designs. I would love to get myself in that habit one of these days.... Maybe I could start by actually getting myself a sketch book... That might motivate me :o)
MaryAnn

PyxeeStyx said...

I have tons of sketch books full of ideas that never come to fruition. I have so much going on in my head that the ideas that make are the ones I grab some supplies and start tinkering right now. I may have an idea where I'm headed when I start, but my creations really just flow from my hands. Sometimes you end up in a very different place than I intended. That's the beauty of art, that I can channel anything I'm thinking or feeling into something beautiful to share with others.

Stacie Florer said...

What a lovely post...and no, so far, no, I don't keep a sketchbook, but I think I am going to start...I have kept journals for years, but I only use words...but I think this post has proven to me that I need to start thinking more in pictures. Awesome...

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