Sunday, March 16, 2008

Practice vs. play

I recently discovered the blog of illustrator Frank Stockton. Not only I was impressed by his art, I found his writing about the illustration profession extremely useful. In one of his posts he recommends having a sketchbook that is just for play, the opposite of a practice sketchbook. What a brilliant idea! Or so it seemed to a self-taught artist like me. Do they teach that at art school? I always wonder how much I missed by not getting an art degree. Anyhow... Having a play sketchbook means giving yourself permission to experiment, even draw as many ugly pages as you want. The point that Stockton makes is that you need to do that to find your unique voice as an artist. Above is the first page of my 'play sketchbook'.
Hace poco descubrí el blog del ilustrador Frank Stockton. Me impresionaron sus ilustraciones y también sus útiles comentarios sobre la profesión de ilustrador. En uno de ellos recomienda tener un sketchbook sólo para experimentar, lo contrario de los que utilizamos para practicar y mejorar la técnica. ¡Qué idea tan brillante! O al menos eso me pareció a mí, ya que yo no estudié Bellas Artes sino que he aprendido lo que sé de forma autodidacta. ¿Te enseñan eso en las escuelas de arte? Siempre me pregunto cuantas cosas me perdí por no estudiar Bellas Artes. En fin, a lo que iba... con un cuaderno sólo para experimentar te das permiso para dibujar sin ningún tipo de presión, aunque te salga mal o el resultado sea de lo más feo. Esa es la manera de encontrar tu voz propia como artista, viene a decir este ilustrator. Arriba pongo la primera página de mi 'play sketchbook'.


  1. Eso mismo hice yo me compre un sketchbook para practicar y forzarme a dibujar porque no lo estaba haciendo. Las ideas que salen ahi muchas veces son las mejores porque las sientes y no van amarradas, ni son obligadas. Es tremenda idea y se la recomiendo a todo el mundo que pinta, ilustra y crea.

  2. I bought a second sketchbook yesterday with the intention to have one just for practicing doing a lot of different things to find out what works for me. I too have no formal training in art but wish I had taken classes while I was in school. At 57, these books are my classroom.

  3. Brincar e desenhar, para mim é o mesmo.
    Mas percebi a ideia...

  4. Pero ¿no tiene que ser todo jugar?¿No hemos aprendido nada de Picasso?

  5. I think it depends on what you really want from your sketchbook and you MUST allow yourself to be childlike - not judgmental.
    With me, I am a perfectionist - my mind is set up this way, whatever I see or do, I want it to be "perfect". The thing I recently realized is that noone is perfect nor anything I'll do can be perfect. With this in my mind I find that I laugh and play with my sketches much more because I stopped thinking that they must be perfect.
    I had one sketchbook for three years and didn't touch it because I was affraid it will not be the way I want it to be. So it was there on my bookshelf...empty with blank pages. What's the use and where is the fun in having a blank sketchbook??? so there I am filling the pages of the same sketchbook with...whatever comes to my mind - and I am so proud - it's not perfect, but it's mine:)