Don’t forget your sketchbook

I have talked about my poster process a lot over the past couple of years, and how I always start with the sketchbook, doodling out ideas before moving to the computer to really start constructing things. But outside of that, I’ve been spending very little time drawing. Given that drawing is the reason I became a designer today, its sad to me that I haven’t been giving my sketchbooks the time they deserve.

Shown here are a bunch of scans of past drawings when it was almost a daily ritual in my life, exploring ideas and creating weird characters. Some of these are more recent while others are up to 10 years old.

That being said, my one and only New Years resolution this year was to draw more. Nobody talks about resolutions in June probably because they are forgotten, but I’m bringing it back! One of the goals of the new Signalnoise project I’m working on is that it’s allowing me to get back into my sketchbook, something I’m really happy about. We have to remember our roots, the creative stuff we did when we were young not because it was a job, but because we just enjoyed doing it.






11 responses to “Don’t forget your sketchbook”

  1. Cameron Moll Avatar

    Great stuff, James. How I wish I could sketch like this…

  2. Luke Desroches Avatar

    Wicked sketches dude. Is that Bowie I see??

  3. Mat MacQuarrie Avatar

    My buddy and I used to draw for hours at his kitchen table making superhero comic books (never getting past the cover and first page) but we always made our own hero. There were countless discussions about who’s guy would win in a fight.

    “..ya well then my guy would use his laser eyes and kill you, or his frost breath!”

    ‘You can’t have both! Pick an ability, you can’t have them all”

    I guess the creator of Superman never had a pal beside him comparing heroes ha ha.

  4. Joe Clay Avatar

    This happens to everyone. The problem is that drawing takes far more time and effort and, in most cases, cleanup.

    It is sad. I used to draw prolifically. Now, I haven’t drawn much of note since I was required to in college. I’m hoping to get back into it as well. It’s hard when you have other crap to accomplish and a limited lifespan! :)

  5. Jaime Avatar

    Another good article, thanks James. Your absolutely right, I use to sketch here and there and scan them but didn’t like the result on screen. Maybe I’ll start trying again, but most definetly helps with ideas.

  6. james Avatar

    Sounds like most of us are in the same boat. Whatever that creative outlet we had that led us into the industry normally gets squashed under school work, client work or whatever. I’m no different. It’s all about making that conscious effort to keep it in rotation . . . try drawing for an hour a week to start. Very satisfying, better than meditation. :)

  7. Kevin Gilmour Avatar

    2 things I wish I did more, that I used to regularly, are drawing & playing the guitar. Using your hands directly to make a mark or a sound is so much more creative and satisfying than the digital realm.

    I don’t know about anyone else but I think the main problem is that there are just so many new things to try, to learn and so much to do with so little time that the computer always wins – you can work so fast and the results are more attractive to clients. I “sketch” a lot of roughs in Illustrator these days – a habit I swore I’d never get in to.

    I have considered doing a life drawing class again, the rigidity of a class at set times often provides the only way we in which we can focus ourselves. Self regulating such things can be very difficult, often we are forced to re-prioritise on the hoof.

    I used to dedicate a certain amount of time a week to both but in the words of Homer “I used to rock ‘n roll all night and party everyday. Then it was every other day. Now I’m lucky if I can find half an hour a week in which to get funky.”

    Sack it, I’m diggin out my Wolfgang and slamming a few riffs out to get me in the mood to work later!

  8. Paul Ainsworth Avatar

    Totally agree with you on that one. I miss the old college days when I didn’t have a computer or a tv. All I had was my guitar, a cd player and a drawing board and a large number of pencils. Went through about 8 drawing books in my first two years at OCAD.
    Drop the mouse and step away from the electronic box people! Find your roots!

  9. Fulton Hawk Avatar
    Fulton Hawk

    This is brilliant quality stuff. It’s awesome to see this type of work from you, because you wouldn’t be able to see this part of your diverse talent looking at your online portfolio. KEEP SKETCHING!!! As more and more people become photoshop savvy and even hacks like me can follow complex PS tutorials; the demand for such “hand made” art will skyrocket. Bottom line. Anybody can purchase PS and follow a tutorial, Most people can not draw, paint or sculpt. Please continue to develop these unique gifts and talents.

  10. WALTER Avatar

    nice work dude

  11. Daniel Avatar

    Nice work! When do we get a chance of seeing some more of your drawings? or concepts from sketch to finished art?

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