Last year, a couple of friends (Mike Oliveri, Cullen Bunn, and a few others) were really talking up using a small writing or sketching book to jot down quick ideas. I’ve carried a larger sketchpad in my backpack for a long time, but I’d considered something smaller to compliment it. So, I ended up purchasing a Moleskine, one with frames for storyboarding, that fits right in a pocket.
It’s been one of those things that, as an artist, has really helped how I work. I use it for practice sketching, as well as for jotting down quick ideas. Sometimes it’s an art idea, sometimes a story idea, or both:
Other times, I’ll get some quote or idea running through my head, and I just need to get it down quick. It can be decently detailed, just a line, or even just a scribble. Believe it or not, I know exactly what all those scribbles on the right mean:
Since I’m working on both painted and cartoon work, I’ve also been toying with character ideas and sketches. I’m trying to expand the idea in my head of what a person looks like, since there are so many variations. I’m also trying more elaborate poses and emotions as well:
I decided with all of my general sketching, a long time ago, that I just have to go with the flow. Sometimes it’s horror, sometimes it’s a cartoon or a thumbnail. Often, I’ll jot some smartass remarks in as well. This is a good example, as the Moleskine’s two frames per page design switched in the middle of the book to a more frame-by-frame setup, and I didn’t know where to start:
A page like this one is a bit of a combination of everything. Some of it’s an idea for a painting, some of it is really just doodling. The helmet was inspired by a series of photographs from a lost WWII jungle battle, found 65 years later.
The Moleskine has allowed me to easily (and inexpensively) grab a sketchpad and take it nearly anywhere. Whether it’s a restaurant, the doctor’s office, the car (while I’m a passenger… of course…). It helps keep those quick ideas from getting away, it allows me to practice my work wherever and whenever I get the chance, and it’s simply easy to deal with.
Much of the time, I really just want to sit and do art. Sometimes, due to life, that’s not possible. But having a small, easy way out to the imagination is very useful, and can at least bridge the gap between full studio time and dealing with real life.