Released 31 days early for patrons.
A peek behind the (sketchbook) curtain

May 31, 2021

A friend was looking at my workspace once and told me that he saw some things that were more interesting than the ones I was posting online. This was concerning at the time because I felt I was showing my best work, but I've realized by now I'm not a good judge of what that is. In some ways that realization gives me some freedom to experiment and to go in strange directions, but there is always this worry that I might not be doing enough, or failing to show that one thing that people are going to connect with. 

The jobs of maker and curator are often in conflict with each other and most of us have to perform both at the same time. There are many ways to resolve that tension. One way would be to fire the inner curator and show Everything, but I'm not personally well suited for that kind of exhibitionism (nor do I believe it's possible, the curator never goes away entirely). Another way is to allow oneself occasional moments of indulgence, sometimes under the name "showing the process", and that's precisely what I'm about to to do with this post. 

I've been working on a zine for the past couple of months and I've talked about different parts of the process before, but I haven't mentioned the warm-ups. Usually before I start working on a drawing I fill one or to pages of my sketchbook with doodles, I go straight to using ink (no pencil drawing first) and very frequently use a brush-pen. I try to be super loose and playful and just create funny shapes, sometimes faces or strange creatures. And I sometimes end up using some of these in other finished drawings. Here are some examples:

I'm particularly fond of the pages where I started using multiple colors:

These warm-up pages look sometimes like well ordered collections, or well disciplined variations on a theme, and I tried to replicate that feeling on this page for the zine:

The items on this collection were some of my favorites (that curator again) from another series of more constrained thumbnails I did on my sketchbook. Quite similar to the ones above except for the rows of rectangles I penciled before drawing:

The idea of dividing a sketchbook page into thumbnails came from this video by Sophy Wong were she talks about the technique and makes some handy templates. It's more of a designer/storyboard artist method but I coopted it for my own doodles. 

Another frequent category of warm-up, low stakes drawing for me are these symmetrical shapes. I think of them as masks or the faces of alien monsters but in general they are pretty meaningless:

I tried to make a specially fancy version of one of these for the zine:

This is all I have for the curated version of my sketchbooks, but if you aren't tired yet of sketchbook content I made you a non curated video flipping through my 2020 and 2021 sketchbooks in about 6 minutes, with no music, and including the all messy back pages of pen testing, probably a bit boring but here it is in the spirit of mocking that pesky curator.

Federico :)

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