Monday, July 4, 2011

(Out of) The Studio Book (s)

Today I wanted to show you two sketchbooks, even though that may not be the proper name for them.
Over time I have searched for many ways to record my ideas and to collect things that inspire me art wise. I have tried to integrate this with my regular journal for a while, but things just got lost in between all my everyday writing. I have tried to put stuff on index cards, but the space was too small to put images I found in books and magazines in there. I have tried big file folders, but they proved impractical.

Then I read Twyla Tharp's book The creative habit and she talks about how she keeps a box for every project she's working on. Everything that has anything to do with the making of a new choreography goes into that box. It varies from sketches and notes to dvd's, books and  music. Now I don't usually have such huge projects going on, nor am I a choreographer, but I liked the idea of a sort of hold all for my ideas and inspirations. What I needed was not so much an art journal (which I consider a regular journal done in an artsy way) but an artist's journal (which I consider a book where artists keep notes and ideas about their art).

So here's my current solution:

I bought two big sketchbooks. These are 25x25 cm and made by Seawhite of Brighton. For some reason I am very attracted to square books, don't ask me why. I just love the 'completeness' and symmetry of that shape.

I have dubbed them Book 1 and Book 2. The first one is the Studio Book, which pretty much lives in my studio. I keep it beside my worktable or on my comfy chair and while I'm working I can put stuff in there like ideas or just things I came across while working.

I can also put in pictures of other people's work that I came across or just tape in some left over stuff from my own projects. For instance on the spreads below you will see the girls that didn't make it onto the canvasses I recently painted/collaged.

You can also see that I put some little drawings in there that came from an exercise that Carla Sonheim did in a podcast with Ricë Freeman Zachery. They are on the left page top left and bottom right. The other two images are copies from the magazine Sew Somerset and made by Marion Worth (bottom left) and Priscilla Jones (top right).

This is also the reason I am reluctant to show most spreads from these books, because they are so full of stuff made by other people. I have no intention of copying their art, but it's important to figure out what you like and don't like and why and how better to do that just by illustrating it with other people's work or just images that speak to you.

The second book I call the Out of the studio Book, because it can travel with me or just sits somewhere in the living room or on my journaling table downstairs.

On the cover I made a little fun of myself, because I'm always so full of ideas and inspirations and most of the time they lead to nothing. As much as I want to I really can't do or have it all. (If anybody says you can they are lying to you big time! ;-) )

What goes in here are all the little ideas and quotes I come across and think up during the day or while I'm away. Sometimes they will go straight into the book, but most of the time I will just copy them from a little notebook I carry with me or put in a photocopy of something I saw.

In the above picture there is again work by other artists, both from the Art Journaling magazine. On the left you see work by Paula Philips (aka Journal Artista) and on the right is work by the amazing journal maker Susie Lafond.

Another thing I can do in these books is just play a little with ideas. Like the following for instance:

It's a developing idea for something that I call 'Constellations'. I have no clue where it came from or where it's going, but that's what these books are perfect for, just dabbling a little with shapes and materials and see what becomes of it. It may never turn into anything or it may lead to some paintings or mixed media works. Who knows. The point is to keep the creative juices flowing no matter what.

I have just started these two books a few weeks ago, so they are not full of stuff yet, but I hope they become overflowing vessels of ideas and inspiration. My ideal would be to one day have an entire shelf full of these books filled with all sorts of triggers for further work. If that ever happens, I'll be sure to post a picture of it on my blog!

Wishing you all a very artsy week!


  1. Leuke boeken Caatje! Ik heb ook zulke vergaarbakken voor ideeën enz. Naast een groot boek heb ik ook altijd een kleinere dummy in mijn tas voor "onderweg". Wat ik daar ook in schrijf: een overzicht van allerlei materialen die ik bezit - zoals kleuren inkt, kalligrafiestiften, kleurpotloden enz. Mijn budget laat het niet toe om alles maar meteen per doos te kopen, dus ik koop dan bijv. 2 of 3 stuks van iets. Aangezien er soms wat tijd zit tussen verschillende aankopen kocht ik wel eens dezelfde inkt/stift e.d. En dus zet ik dat nu zo gauw ik iets koop in die dymmy.

  2. Nice idea these idea books - great to capture all those thoughts and inspirations.

  3. I stop and start so many "idea notebooks," but they have never been quite so colorful and artistic as these! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Caatje, so nice to scroll down your blog... such a big place full of inspiration!
    I love your idea books!!! And the fabrices too, they are so colourfull!


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