I still remember when I was introduced to Conceptart as a student and started devoting countless hours to the sketchbook threads, desperately trying to measure up to the most prestigious drawers around the world. I felt like I was part of an isolated underground club in which battles were fought on paper, using your drawing skills and creativity as a weapon. As the popularity of the site grew, so did my love and dedication to sketchbooks. [illustration above by Guy Parkhomenko]
Drawing in my sketchbook was not a simple exercise routine anymore. Each page was a reflection of my surroundings, my daily activities, and even my attitude. It was a visual journal of my life.
Unfortunately, as I graduated and started working as a commercial illustrator, my focus shifted towards fine tuning my portfolio and my sketchbooks started gathering dust.
Slowly, as artist’s blogs started becoming a new trend and I was seeking out artistic inspiration each week, I started developing friendships with various sketch artists around the world and my passion for my daily visual journaling revived again.
In November of 2008, I received an e-mail invitation from Seattle journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario to join a new website called Urban Sketchers, where illustrators from around the world would contribute life drawings of cities they live in, or travel through.
Quickly, the site became a huge success. With hundreds of members from all over the world, people’s interest in the art field started gradually shifting towards this new phenomenon called Sketchbooking.
A year later, a book titled An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory was released. The popularity of sketchbooks was broadening quickly.
Illustrators are releasing more and more of their sketchbook work now and new hope is given to visual journalism in the more commercial industry as well.
Locally, sketchbook pages are exhibited in galleries. Art buyers and art hobbyists are seeking out sketchbooks and life drawings of artists far more frequently than before.
As a faculty in the Communication Arts department at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University), I am enforcing the use of daily sketchbooking as a general rule and it has given me fascinating results amongst dedicated students.
The community of sketchbook artists is developing rapidly and it is becoming an extremely accessible area for illustrators, designers, painters, artists in various categories, to come together as one in a less competitive division of the art industry.
Definition of Sketchbooking
Part of Speech: Adjective
Definition: To draw regularly,on a daily basis in your sketchbook-preferably from life
Synonyms: Journaling visually, sketching, drawing
Antonym: Being lazy