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Sketchbook Flip through


Sketchbook Flip through

Barbara Graham

My short working days mean I’m not very patient about having to wait for paintings to dry. For this reason I tend to work on several paintings at once on sheets of paper or canvas that can spread out around the my little studio space, and when something doesn’t work, it can be tossed into the recycling.

There is something more permanent about working in a sketchbook, I don’t like ripping pages out if I can help it so even bad ideas tend to stick around and maybe get worked on again at a later date. This level of permanence can mean I’m more rigid and keen to get things ‘right’ so they can be less experimental.

However there is something uplifting about a completed sketchbook. They stand as a record of the journey of ideas. As you flip through you can see the passage of time as different ideas and styles are tried out and eventually brought together into a unique, single idea. I have several sketchbooks on the go at once and work in them depending what suits my mood (I think I have at least 15 that are half full). In the last few months I’ve tried to consolidate everything into just two.

This is an A3 size sketchbook that has been hanging around for a few years - I’ve ripped pages out (and that first image is at least 4 years old) - then everything else has been done since September 2018. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t, but I tend to keep everything as a reminder.

The smaller, A5 sketchbook below often travels with me and will be worked on in cafes or camping trips, so some of the work is more spontaneous, trying to capture an idea in the moment, and using simple pens and watercolours that are easier to have to hand and don’t make a mess of my friends furniture.

I love the feel of good quality sketchbooks, let me know your favourites and recommendations in the comments.