20.10.11

Shorthand Sketches


I had reason to sift through my many Moleskine sketchbooks in search of little landscape roughs this week. I usually carry a pocket Moleskine around with me on my walks and often stop to scribble something down. It's never anything wonderful, just a form of shorthand, catching the design which I've spotted in a part of the landscape.



I understand my notes, though I don't know if anyone else would. Very often I'll draw them in a frame. Even though I've only started lino printing again recently, I've never stopped designing print ideas, knowing that one day I'd find time to recreate them. Some of them are very small indeed - this one below is about 5 cm/2" wide;





Sometimes I can *see* a whole colour print as I sketch and make notes accordingly.




Sometimes my notes come right out of my head and are so garbled that not many people except myself could work them out.




This one below is actually an idea for a decorative mount with corner vignettes - hot air balloon (really) in the top left corner, lost balloon in the top right, trio of trees bottom left and solitary house bottom right with winding path. It is the crudest of notes, but to me it makes perfect sense. Had I not quickly jotted it down, I would have forgotten all about it.



At other times - if I am waiting for something - like a bus - l can be painfully neat. All the observational drawing feeds into doing believable imaginative work.




These notes have turned into more stylised designs - it's like banking ideas for a future date.




Even if they start out quite realistic.




Here's a more natural sketch, but still making a feature of the curved frame the old beech tree trunks make.




I can often remember the exact moment I drew something, and what the weather was like, even if the sketch is many years old. These were drawn from life but with a definite view to make into lino prints.






I used to be painfully shy about my rough sketches, many years ago, but now I don't care what anyone else thinks - scribbles they may be, but their practical use is just a first step towards the finished product and for that reason, they are priceless to me.


20 comments:

julochka said...

thank you for sharing this. the insight into your creative process is indeed priceless. and it makes me feel much better about my own notebook scribbles.

Charlotte said...

I think they are wonderful, they are like photographers contact sheets, a try out and thought process.

rachel said...

Always fascinating to see how a work evolves. I'd really like to see some of your lino prints!

linniekin said...

Your blog has been a treat to read for some time. I just had to post to say that, as someone who really can't draw, your sketches are really beautiful, not just as portents of things to come, but in their own right.

knutty knitter said...

Nice to see what others put in their note books. I only started carrying mine around again four years back after many years of doing nothing about it. There are very few trees but lots and lots of mountains, hills and sea! Comes of growing up in a tree desert.

viv in nz

Frances said...

Gretel, I did look into the source of M le Roitelet and now have more reasons to admire your linoprint.

Now, on to your sketching. It really is marvelous how our mind will store a bit of what it was that lead us to do a particular sketch. The mind finds a clever filing system, that years later might just result in a memory being summoned by a tiny bit of graphite on paper.

I've always known this and been delighted by it. I think that my visual memory is much stronger than any other parts of my memory.

Do you notice this same thing?

Best wishes. xxo

Rowan said...

Idf I could make sketches like yours I'd be delighted! I love the beech trees framing the landscape and many of them remind me of the lovely 1930s designs of Clarice Cliff and others. Very,very nice.

Natasha said...

I love your sketches! Show more! xxx

Twiglet said...

Yes I thought of Clarice Cliff too - one of my favourites. Your designs may be simple sketches to you but they are amazing litle works of art in themselves - I can almost feel finished piece growing out of it!!! Thanks for sharing. x Jo

ted and bunny said...

I couldn't imagine you using anything other than a "Moleskine" notebook!

frayedattheedge said...

I wish I could draw/sketch like you!! I could quite happily have all those little sketches framed and on the wall!!

Mousy Brown said...

Oh thank you for that - its so lovely to see your initial ideas! I too make little jottings and sketches - I am never without a book and a pencil, after all you never know when inspiration might strike! :D

The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Ahhh! Gretel,
I really enjoyed seeing all these drawings! I liked being able to imagine with you ;-D Great talent!!
Blessings Linnie

Soozcat said...

Just the flowing lines and organic shapes of your work are beautiful. You're right not to be afraid to share them. Thank you for doing so.

jfidz said...

Great to see your original ideas and sketches. Thanks for sharing.

Yarrow said...

These sketches are so lovely and filled with energy and I'm glad you have shared them. I love your style and it will be good to see the finished prints that these inspire.
Have you given up with the Gocco? It was quite a fiddly process compared to rolling ink!

Have fun and take care.xxx

moonandhare said...

It's good to see how your ideas begin, Gretel. Doing quick little sketches and idea notes helps me loosen up creatively, too, I find.

Jeri Landers said...

I too, keep lots and lots of sketchbooks.Sometimes a quick, messy sketch, sometimes a detailed picky drawing, IDEAS all over the pages. It is fun to go through the really old ones and see if I ever followed through on a particular design and how my ideas have changed through the years. YOURS are very much like mine, but I have never been brave enough to share them.

Lrc said...

I agree with Jeri, I haven't been brave enough to share my sketches either. I do think they look Art Deco ish...lovely and flowy. Sketches really are so valuable in recording fleeting images and responses to what we see and what we think of when we see. I love moleskine notebooks and recently started another--the ending of one year and beginning of another!

Lyn said...

I love, love, love looking at your sketches. I plan to 'get into' doing more sketches in the new year, so thanks for the inspiration.
xxx