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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.