Sketchbooks are one of the most valuable resources to a print designer. Full of potential marks, motifs, ideas for colour, texture and fabric they can hold endless possibilities just waiting to be explored.

Drawing of crown detail in Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford from Crimson Rose sketchbook.

I have always kept sketchbooks since as far back as I can remember. In the beginning these were simple little notebooks full of doodles and writing. These days they contain much more than that but the intention is still the same – to record, document and develop.

Primary and secondary research including drawing and photography from Crimson Rose sketchbook.

In my practice I create different types of sketchbooks for different purposes, my favourite kind are travelogues. These are the sketchbooks that I take with me when I travel to sketch and record information that I see. My travelogues come with me when I go to the beach, on an excursion and even for a cocktail. They are packed in my bag along with a small selection of drawing apparatus including a pencil, fine liner, marker pen and a few colours. They often end up a bit scruffy,  stained with sun cream and sand!

Black, red, pale pink fabric sample from Crimson Rose sketchbook.

The second kind that I create are museum sketchbooks. These are reserved for trips to museums more locally. I am very inspired by objects and often visit museums and galleries to sketch and record information. One of my favourite collections is the Pitt Rivers in Oxford.

Half tone pom pom detail and watercolour in pinks and blues from Crimson Rose sketchbook.

The third kind I keep are books where I develop my visual ideas. Working from a combination of primary and secondary sources I explore, colour, painting, mark making and motif design. I often attach fabric samples or colour tests to these sketchbooks to record my development process. I also include print outs of digital print development like this example where I have manipulated my own photography into a halftone bitmap effect.

 Drawing of crown in blue, black, pink and yellow felt tips from Crimson Rose sketchbook.

I have a huge collection of sketchbooks that I have generated over the years. Like time capsules they offer a glimpse into my life and experiences. As a design resource they are full of endless possibilities to return to and develop.

All images © Crimson Rose.