title concertina_sketchbook

A sketchbook journal becomes an indispensable tool for working out ideas. Each new journal seems to develop its own theme and then to act as a springboard for the next. These journals I use in conjunction with a variety of sketchbooks of different sizes and types of paper. When going for a day on the coast I might pack a particular one in my bag, for a rail journey a smaller one. Drawings from these may be photocopied and stuck into my working journal or developed in a different media or scale. Reflections, notes on my reading, short extracts, ideas to follow up, cuttings, prints and photos all end up in the working journal.

I try not to develop a finished design in the journal, as I find that when ideas are kept fairly vague, the work can evolve as it progresses. If I spend too much time laying plans and drawing out specific ideas, I feel that I have already said what I wanted to say, and the excitement and inspiration has dissipated. The best situation is to have more than one piece of work on the go at a time. Summer is a good time to get out and about to gather ideas; on winter evenings it is good to have a pile of books to read or some hand stitching on felt to return to.