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.