I'm one of those people who gets really possessive and twitchy when you try to look at their sketchbook. It's a personal document and full of unpolished, half-baked ideas - even if you're an artist who is confident in your abilities, it can be painful to reveal the murky pathway to the final show. I've always been jealous of people who fill dozens of quaint, dog-eared volumes with effortless and beautiful doodles. I will never be one of those people.
I was looking through my sketchbook the other day and thinking about this when I started laughing because what I saw was so awful. My sketches are pure strategy, intended only as analytic tools for making something actually artful. As an example, I present my only full diagram of what would become the CUFF poster:
Do you see anything in that drawing? No. It looks like shit. But it was immensely useful in figuring out where in the back of the cave it would recede to nothingness, what the overall shape would be, and the proportion of the crystal in relation to the cavern and the text.
Yes, there are some cool sketches up on this blog, and yes, that sketch at the top looks pretty awesome - I'm being unfair to myself - but if you were to look through my ratty notebooks you'd see a lot more half-assed shit than impressive drafts. Sketch pages like the one at the top of this post are practice for drawing more complex details of unfamiliar textures or forms. I also have pages of transitional sketches. These are drawings that morph as I fill in the details over the body of the subject. For example, this preliminary drawing for the Brain Frame 5 poster:
You can see that I didn't know how to place the monster's legs, or communicate that the eyes were eyes as well as letters. And you can see the rejected mouth idea in the left jowl, which was ditched for the second idea that emerged when drawing the right jowl. I only needed to ink a fraction of this drawing to know how I intended to ink the entirety of the finished monster. And I make a lot of critical notes to myself like that one in the corner - in the end I decided I didn't need iris lines at all.