Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Sketchbook Challenge

More than a dozen years ago I started to keep a sketchbook. What prompted me, I have no idea - but I stopped when I was diagnosed with cancer a year later and never went back. Occasionally, it falls out of my bookcase and I flip through it. Of course, when I look at it now, I think there was some pretty cool stuff in there.  Although none of the ideas/sketches/doodles or collages ever got made into other art, some pages reflect what was going on in my life and I see that some things never change. Occasionally, I think I should find time to go back to it, so when Sue Bleiweiss' book, The Sketchbook Challenge, was published recently, I got my hands on a copy.


Can I tell you that I loved it? First, it is a visual treat. It is chock-full of gorgeous examples from a variety of artists who keep sketchbooks (I love to see what other people are doing!).  Second, it is loaded with ideas and inspiration - and even if you have never kept a sketchbook, all the information to get you going is right here.  Third - the book is so well organized that you can open it anywhere and get what you need.

 Each chapter gives you a jumping-off theme to get you going: elements, lines and grids, everyday objects, and simple pleasures are just a few to inspire you. Of course, you can ignore all of them and choose your own - and you probably will after you try a few of these.  Each chapter has examples,and techniques for working in a variety of mixed media. Drawing, painting, collage, image transfer, stamping.  Wax, watercolor, pencil, charcoal, fabric: anything goes!  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Since I don't consider myself a sketchbook or journal person, I did not expect to get as excited as I did about going back to my sketchbook.  But honestly, this book has inspired me and I am ready to pick up where I left off at the end of 2000 and play around.  My colored pencils are languishing in the bottom drawer and I'm ready to get them out and start playing in my spiral-bound book.

Thanks, Sue, for getting me started again!




8 comments:

Sue Bleiweiss said...

and thank you Rayna for such a wonderful review!

Diane said...

How serendipitous is this? I just wrote down the name of this book yesterday so I could go out and find a copy. Today, this review shows up on your blog. I think I'm being led! Thanks for the nudge.

Lisa Chin said...

I'm looking forward to reading the book too! I've been following the blog since it started and have been working on getting my sketchbook in order. It's great to hear another great review of the book!

Lisa Kerpoe said...

There is nothing quite as satisfying as sitting down with a sketchbook, some watercolor pencils, a favorite CD and some iced tea (or wine, depending on the time of day)! Some of my best ideas have come from my sketchbook practice.

I haven't read Sue's book yet, but I'm looking forward to getting some new ideas from it!

Connie Rose said...

Great review. I'll have another look at the book at Amazon. xo

Vivien Zepf said...

As a fello non-sketchbook / journaler, I'm intrigued by your review. I guess I'm going to have to give this a book a look-see.

Rayna said...

I really think it's a beautiful book.

Vivien Zepf said...

Because of you, I've bought the book and Amazon says it's on it's way .... I'm getting excited about seeing it!