View Full Version : I can't decide whether to do a sketchbook or a painting, or both, and why ...

02-28-2013, 05:08 AM
Right off the bat I want to say that I'm a person with borderline personality disorder, as the shrinks would word it. Pretty much all of my life I have not known myself. A doctor asks me how much pain I'm in, and I can't tell them. Someone asks me (well, they started asking that 20 years ago, lol) and I just shrug my shoulders. I used to do the whole "drag queen" thing ... I know, unrelated, or is it? ... so that I could get in touch with my 'other side'. To complicate matters I'm an analytical, 'deep thinker' type who is perfectly capable of reducing the most significant of things down to its more boring parts. If I were a part of the Heavens, I'd most likely be a black hole. If I had any luck I'd be a collapsing star. :D So ... I am unable to decide between doing sketchbooks and paintings. I have the materials for both. For those who don't know how to deal with my type, "just try both!" is not the answer, or I wouldn't be here. :lol:

02-28-2013, 02:34 PM
Use a good sketchbook like the S&B - if your sketches are worth framing, simply remove the page and frame them :)

problem solved

It's how I work unless I'm working on larger paper (even then it's often in very large sketchbooks, with good paper) . It means I'm free to do exactly what I want - quick impressions or more finished pieces - then those more finished pieces can either stay in the sketchbook or be framed. The options are there. The painting is also protected until I'm ready to frame. I replace the page with a print of the missing painting and the book remains 'complete'.

I hope this helps

02-28-2013, 04:20 PM
Do the sketchbook. The reasons are, a sketchbook is a place where you can discover how you like to make marks. Get a book with really good paper. Like Vivien said, the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks are marvelous. They have a nice variety of sizes as well. If you make something you want to frame, you can. By doing the sketchbook, you'll discover (hopefully) how you want to create full size paintings. Then, you can decide to switch. Tho' most of the masters of old did both. They had their sketchbooks and did their masterpieces. But, I still say start with a sketchbook.

02-28-2013, 04:46 PM
Do the sketchbook.
You will have more fun with it. Its portable and more people will see it. Even if you take it out sketching alone, complete strangers will be curious about it, not to mention co-workers or friends. You'll be able to get some feedback on what people like (oh, I like this one!..this background...this part here...) People are happy to pick out what is pleasing about a picture!

And you'll be able to enjoy your artwork all over again when someone points to something they like; its like looking at it with new eyes..

Even if you never want anyone else to look at it, its also a nice way to store and sort pictures chronologically. (Unless your other half wants to start at the back of the book or something. J/K:wink2: ) You'll be able to see progress in yourself and feel encouraged...
Let us know what you decide!

03-01-2013, 12:15 AM
for now i have decided to go with sketching. i'm starting to think that art on those surfaces starts in the sketchbook, and that having no real plan when going to the canvas or panels was in direct conflict with my 'go all the way' approach to things, resulting in my never really getting going in any one of the mediums. maybe later on i will be ready to tackle oil pastels and acrylics again.

03-01-2013, 04:26 AM
that's the intimidating thing if you start a canvas with no clear ideas - whereas a sketchbook is all about developing ideas and freedom

I use acrylics, pastels, oil paints - anything and everything in mine. Acrylic, being basically a glue, has to dry - but sketches in oil paint don't have to. Just shut the book and the pages won't stick. You can carry on working on the next page.

03-01-2013, 11:27 AM
vhere, you had me cracking up because i can just see myself starting to put all sorts of media in the sketchbook and then all of a sudden stopping again because i can't decide what media to work with. Sort of like bringing the problems I am having from "out there" to "home". :lol: I'm a mess, to say the least. Put me in a straight jacket, stick a brush in my mouth and at least I will only have to worry about one brush and whatever media they put in front of me.

03-01-2013, 04:16 PM
:D. I have a friend like you!

03-05-2013, 11:20 PM
I think I can relate a bit, (except for the drag queen part). I guess some might call me a "deep thinker" too and it often induces what I call "analysis paralysis" (I didn't coin the term, don't know where I first saw it.) where I over think it and end up doing nothing. I also have some kind of ADD, can't seem to stick to one kind of thing for too long and it only seems to get worse as I get older. My Dad even called me a "flake" several years ago, and it's not really like him to say things like that. :lol: People my age are supposed to have all this figured out....oh well.

Back to you, the answer is very simple...... do both. Sketch today, paint tomorrow, or sketch some more, whatever you feel like. To me sketching has become a necessity for painting. Doing the last several paintings have made me realize how invaluable sketching is. I now avoid trying to paint anything I haven't already sketched from life. For example; while pulling up reference photos last night for my next painting I was getting frustrated. No matter how I cropped them they didn't look like what I remembered, not nearly as inspiring as I was expecting. So I went and grabbed my sketchbook and found my sketch I did of that location and it became instantly clear why. Without even realizing it at the time I had "recomposed" the scene while sketching just enough to emphasize what it was that was impressing me about the scene. Now I know what to do in the painting. Without that sketch I don't think this painting would happen, or at least it wouldn't come out as well. I even recently did a painting that was based entirely on a sketch since I didn't have my camera with me that day when I sketched the scene and it's definately one of my best paintings.


03-26-2013, 04:49 PM
Davkin, it sounds like you're a multipotentialite. You might find this website interesting to explaing the constant cycle of interests...I know I did.


Carole A
03-26-2013, 07:52 PM
Davkin, it sounds like you're a multipotentialite. You might find this website interesting to explaing the constant cycle of interests...I know I did.


Thanks so much for that link, Jasmine. I haven't been diagnosed but I'm sure I have ADD. A friend once told me that I don't finish everything I start because I'm a perfectionist, and if I decide something's not going to be perfect, I lose interest. Immediately. If I had to guess, I'd say that my mother planted that seed when she criticized every thing I did; nothing was ever good enough. She also told me that I should just forget about college, because I was not college material and no one would pay for me to go. It's a funny thing though. In every college level course I've taken, I've been best in my class. Gotta stop listening to that little girl inside me that keeps saying I'm just not good enough.

My husband likewise crits my attempts. Oh well.

Carole A

Joan T
03-27-2013, 05:24 PM
I say do the sketchbook. It is a much more versatile way of working, and you can use your media of choice at the time. If something really inspires you, sketch it and turn it into a painting too.

04-04-2013, 12:45 PM
Davkin, it sounds like you're a multipotentialite. You might find this website interesting to explaing the constant cycle of interests...I know I did.

Jasmine, thank you so much for the link, I think I have found myself!!! and I am definitely one of the "do I want to paint or sketch" folks, I have to try to get more active in the sketching since I am sure it will help my paintings in a huge way!! thanks again!...