Ever year since 2008 I’ve put together a sketchbook.
The first couple of years were just a hodgepodge of whatever work I might have done that year that wasn’t for a client or any particular project. It wasn’t until 2011 with my collection The Hidden People that I hit on the idea that was to shape my personal work for the foreseeable future: a new series of work on theme. Taking a year to build a body of new work centered (however loosely) on a single idea sharpened my focus like nothing else. And I’ve been at it ever since!
Even with 2020 being very 2020 this year, my annual collection continues apace. Each year I pick a convention or some other show as a hard deadline for myself to release the sketchbook. Since 2015 that has been New York Comic Con. It’s always early in October and makes for a great event to debut a new book. Alas! It’s not to be this year but I’m still treating October as the goal for the sketchbook. The structure is helpful.
So what’s this year? Trolls. A lot of trolls and a lot of creatures.
As with most every previous year, this collection is a variety of finished drawings, sketches, studies, and other scribbles. I’ve always found that I get the most of seeing the drawings and sketches of others. I find the spaces within those lines and shapes to be the most educational. Somehow, I’m better able to translate and apply what I learn there in my own work when I see that from others.
One of the goals of these sketchbooks is to give that feeling, in whatever measure possible, to the viewer. A look at my process. A peek over my shoulder. A jumping off place for your own imaginative works. That’s a gift I’ve received time and again and it’s one that I always look to share with these collections.
This sketchbook will also feature more writing than past works. Whether it’s a glimpse into the inner life and thoughts of one of these creatures or simply re-telling an old, mostly forgotten tale from this world, it’s been an exercise to jot more these things down.
GLIMMER, my 2020 sketchbook, will release in October.
Also! Earlier this month I was a guest on The Illustration Department Podcast.
In fact, we talked at length about my sketchbooks and process. If that sounds interesting or useful for you feel free to give it a listen. Enjoy!
Thanks for the post! I love your trolls. They are so relatable and cool. The idea resonates with me, I will try to jump in and try to make a themed sketchbook until lightbox 2021.
Nice! I’ve found nothing better for focused, creative development. Best of luck!
Cory – I adore your work and send my students your way all the time! Do you mind sharing what company you use to publish/print your books? Thanks! e