When working almost entirely digitally using photoshop, a wacom tablet and a stack of scanned in scribbles, it becomes very, very easy to forget how to draw. Drawing by shifting nodes around and relying heavily on the cntrl-z function has made me lazy. I have forgotten how to observe and I have definitely forgotten how to relax. I scared myself recently by picking up a paint brush and trying something on paper and finding that I have lost my sureness of line and gesture. Everything seems pale and timid and disappointing or tight and contrived. Because this makes me sad and because this year is all about More Art and Less TV (New Year’s Resolution #3) and because I am much inspired by the Messrs. Riedel, Gregory and Martz and the always inspiring Ms Smith I am going to swear to you now that a sketch book will be with me at all times in 2004, and not only that but I swear to fill it with doodles and notes.
I bought myself a book in the sales last week from the very trendy Kikki.K which was going to become my sketchbook but the paper isn’t quite what I am looking for, it’s more a notebook. Does anyone recommend (or not) the moleskine diaries that seem so easy to slip into a pocket or bag? Should I just stick to my old canson paper, spiral bound thing? Not very glamourous but practical none the less.

I really like Danny Gregory’s Everything I know about life, I learnt from drawing. I think I might have to print this out and stick it inside the cover of my new book: “It’s all about the Now. That’s why it’s called a drawing, not a drawn”.

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36 Responses

  1. i love my moleskine notebooks. right now I have three – one regular pocket notebook (unlined paper), one with graphpaper (quadrant lined) and one with their special sketchbook/painting paper. all highly recommended. it’s a great size, it comes with a pocket, it’s got nice paper. what more could you want?

  2. oh I forgot I was going to mention I got a Wacom tablet for Xmas. yay! but, I’m not great with it yet. Certianly I don’t produce the wonderful “scribbles” you do. if you have any hints you’re willing to share? to e-mail me remove the “NOSPAM_” from the e-mail address.

  3. Moleskine rocks :-D. They’re worth it.

  4. says:

    Ohh..Van Gogh? Me must inspect said Moleskines then…Thanks again for another heap of inspiration! Gregory rocks and I said so!
    Didn’t mail those cards from the States yet..will do that soon.
    I’mma go sketch..YAY!

  5. hmmm… i found that my moleskine with the fancy thick sketchpaper didn’t take ink well at all! i had to test several different pens, and it didn’t like my speedball dip pen either. but it does beautifully with pencil.

  6. Wow – I have just noticed the update on Danny Gregory’s site about the different kinds of sketchbooks he uses! Very cool guy.

  7. Go the Moleskin!! If only cause they are cool

  8. moleskins moleskins moleskins! Love ’em.

  9. What a wonderful resolution, Claire! Yay for that. And for Moleskines, I love them and keep giving them to people, too. Will you be showing your doodles? I very much enjoy Witold’s subway drawings, and would certainly love to see yours if you want to let us take a peek…

  10. says:

    “That’s why it’s called a drawing, not a drawn” – Well, never underestimate the written word eitherSigned, an author who whiches he could draw.

    P.S. For blackbooks, I usually use the cheapest ones available. Sadly, they always get beaten up, bent, broken and stained when I carry them around in my backpack. Any suggestions?

  11. says:

    BTW have you started about the cards? If you make them, we will sell them.C’mon all you looby fans, join in The Big Get Claire Her Dreamhouse Card Sale!

  12. My very dear creative illustrator friend Jennifer Martorello makes sketch books and journals by hand with much love. I bought one from her at a craft show and it is lovely. She happens to really enjoy craft paper and so most of her books come with those lovely brown paper pages, but she also has some with drawing paper. The covers are deliciously hand bound, hand stamped, stitched and sewn, and every one is unique. Jennifer is all about interesting textures. I’ve been trying to get her to start her own website and blog… but in the meantime email me if you are interested in getting in touch with her.
    Also, offers some journals made by an artist named “e”. Gauchita is down for a few weeks holiday but will be back soon. You can also get a snazzy handmade embroidered tote bag there to carry your sketchbooks around town in style. I got one with a penguin for my birthday. πŸ™‚

  13. Oh, absolutely the Moleskines. I’ve been carrying a series of them around in my jacket pocket for the last couple of years. They’re perfect for on-the-go note-jotting, sketching and whatnot.

  14. I would also like to add my voice to the chourus about the Moleskine books. I’ve been using them for over a year. Thae pages are not too toothy for fine pencil lines while being thick enough to take watercolours. Not mention the secret pouch at the back of the book for carrying photographs or other random things. I love them and carry mine with me everywhere.

  15. says:

    very inspiring. thank you.

  16. Just throw out the tv alltogether! We’re doing completely without for over a year already, it’s lovely.

  17. No TV at all?? I couldn’t! I would miss Survivor All Stars!
    I am off to get a moleskine this afternoon. How can I not? Van Gogh and AndrΓ© Breton used them!

  18. yes indeed, more drawing on paper. fellow aus illo person here, i also draw with my wacom too match, same sketch book resolution this year, love your siteBinny πŸ™‚

  19. yep. same resolution here. πŸ™‚ For nearly the past 3 years I’ve relied solely on Illustrator & Photoshop for my illustrations… and as a result I’ve become deathly afraid of blank canvases and the pristine white of my sketchbook pages… it’s very sad.
    So I’ll be carrying my own little sketchbook with me. Mine’s just a cheap-o, spiral bound one though. I thought if I bought a fancy one, I would be too intimidated by it and want every sketch to be “good”.

    I love danny gregory’s site also. Good luck, claire. πŸ™‚

  20. i think the moleskines are quite nice, they make sketchbooks with good paper.i don’t like spirals very much because you cannot use the two pages as one if you wish. but that’s just personal preference.
    i hope you will post pages from the sketchbooks, i would love to see!

  21. moleskine books are lovely. they have some very pretty silk covered books available too. and i also wrote the danny gregory hints in my current notebook (an el cheapo blank journal from amsterdam).
    you should get amelia j. a notebook of her own! she’ll be incredibly fascinated by your sketchbook and it will make her feel special to have her own. (maybe she’s still a wee bit little though).

    Michelle, I also received a wacom tablet for christmas! I’m trying to illustrate every non-food item that i purchase as a way of practising. unfortunately i don’t have enough money to buy myself cool things!

    but yay for paper!

  22. I had the exact same experience recently, tried to paint and it looked horrible! I don’t know if I know what to do without a wacom now…
    Hello from the other side of Canada. I love your drawings.

  23. Thanks for the link, Claire! I, too, have resolved to do a lot more sketching and doodling in 2004… this week I’m going sketchbook shopping!

  24. says:

    Moleskines are wonderful.
    My brother uses the (much much) cheaper option of those black plastic covered, spiral bound sketchbooks…the ones that come in pocket sized to A3. The pocket sized only cost about $2.50 from newsagents. I use them for my carry everywhere journals.

    But Moleskines ARE cool.

    Good luck.

  25. Weird but I had the exact same fear (ie: too much wacom not enough ink) not so long ago and started to keep a sketchbook in the car and in my bag…sadly the only time I have to draw is at traffic lights – makes for quick sketches (but bad driving). I usually use the cheap “visual diary” you find at newsagents but have a mini moleskin handy as well. Smiggle also have a set of books but the paper is very

  26. I have a bit of a sketchbook fetish, and usually work in about five at a time (all are various sizes and shapes and have different paper so I can justify having so many sketchbooks), but the one I like best for smooth, easy sketches are the Robert Bateman sketchbooks. (Don’t laugh, they’re really nice.) They have 100lb paper that’s very smooth, lovely to ink on, lovely for markers and lovely for pencil. They come in tiny sizes, too. They’re spiral bound, but I find they don’t get all torn up and nasty like the cansons.

  27. says:

    have you seen this?,9514,1,1,galeria.html


  28. Well, I found this all a bit synchronicitic (not sure if that’s a real word) because the other day I bought a sketchbook (wouldn’t have a clue what brand or gsm, no info at all on the book itself ..I just know it has 192 pages of acid-free paper) I just had to get it because of all the “Wacom-time” I have spent to the detriment of my analog media sketchings…I used to sketch and doodle ALL the time pre-computer…got to do more of that again…

  29. I made that resolution about drawing more too.I too, have a bit of a sketchbook habit, getting new beautiful ones and then never filling them completely. Got to work on that!

  30. Some strange feeling seized me when I read your comment, guys.Does guys’s post look strange here?
    No. So guys, what is the point in your comment?
    There always has to be some point.
    Nothing personal tho.

  31. says:

    hey guys, i’m from toronto and i’m looking to get a moleskin but i’ve got no idea where to get one…i found your site while i was searching for ‘moleskin’ on yahoo….any tips for getting one in either Toronto or London (I’m going there for vacation in a week!)Any info. would be greeat!!

    THANKS! 8)

  32. Thank u for important news!

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