31/1/23 (inside a sketchbook)

Yesterday I had to take a sketchbook apart. It’s one I’d already taken apart and put back together, turning it from an A2 sketchbook of sketches from my first class at university (textiles) by cutting the cover in half and folding the sheets in on themselves to make a new, blank-ish A3 sketchbook.
It’s now partly framed in frames I’ve scrounged from my parents’ loft, and the rest is waiting for me to find a framer I trust (my usual framer retired, please do get in touch if you can recommend a Scottish-Borders based framer, I’d be very grateful!)

I just wanted to jump on here and share some drawings from my sketchbook. Since I left uni, I’ve been a bit crap at keeping up sketchbooks for my Proper Art Work. Either it doesn’t really need any sketchbook space, and the bits of scaffolding and thoughts live in a notebook somewhere, or like with yesterday’s, they turn into something I need to make sellable, so have to dismantle it.
My last good sketchbook, I’m going to check just now, is one I made myself. I am not a skilled book binder, but they do… just. It’s covered with bright pink card, which I’m very attached to. I started it in 2017, and filled it in… 2021. It mostly covers my 2018-2021 project, I’ve Only Been Here Half My Life.

Sketchbooks are the one thing I can’t bring myself to tear up and bin when I’m trying to make space, redact my past or generally purge the bad art. They’re a diary, a story, a visual collection that can’t be pulled apart. I binned the big portraits I did of school friends (sorry pals) that weren’t even that bad, but the sketchbook needs to stay. I might need it one day. I might want to go back and think about our advanced higher art class and the hours I spent trying to do fashion illustrations for my prints.

So here’s a very late January resolution.

I’m going to keep working in small hand-bound sketchbook I made from bits of paper, leftovers from other sketchbooks, graph paper, any old stuff I didn’t think deserved the fate of the recycling bin
and whatever ends up in there, I’m not going to pull it apart. It’s going to get filled up and I’ll hide it on my shelves forever with the rest of them, and one day go on to a fate I can’t control.

In the meantime, here’s a few pages. The pottery drawings seem to be maturing when I’m not looking, but sometimes I look back and think they’re as flat as I thought. Maybe this book is a dumping ground for the wonky experiments?
I went to the woods yesterday afternoon and did some sketching. I like the dark paper to draw on, the light bits shine on it, and I still haven’t found a paper supplier that does paper this dark that’s not black and not too textured (this is a second call-out for recommendations!). The landscapes are using Derwent Drawing pencils, which are so so soft, and have a limited palette that I love and loathe (only because I want the whole set that doesn’t exist) at the same time. The bits of pottery are in Derwent Lightfast, which are harder, but are niiiiiice.

Anyway, sorry I like typing.

Here’s some pictures


There’s about 13 days left to go on my Kickstarter campaign! I’m raising funds to buy polaroid exposures and to pay for printing of a new artists book about the ancient woodland I live beside in February. It’s at about £700 at the moment, but if I get to £1000, I promise it’ll be a hardback.

Join in here!