Daily sketchbooks

Overview

Sketchbooks have been a significant part of my process for almost two decades. All my projects start with drawings and notes in my “work” sketchbook, usually an A5 format, which I use every day (you can see them in many of my other case studies).

However, I think it’s very important to draw as a form of daily practice. These days I carry a pocket sketchbook with me all the time, the goal being to do at least one drawing every day, no matter how small.

Videos

The videos below show some of my recent daily sketchbooks, page by page. If the pace feels a bit slow, you can change the playback speed to 2x in the bottom-right corner of each video :)

This sketchbook in particular is the one during which I decided to draw more often, and eventually every day. The quality of the drawings gets significantly better as the dates get closer to each other.

Resources — books

If you’re really interested in sketchbooks and the drawing process, here are a few great books (please consider supporting independent bookstores, Wordery or Bookshop are good online options, among others):

— Christoph Niemann, Sunday Sketching (Abrams)
— Christoph Niemann, Souvenir (Diogenes)
— Milton Glaser, Sketch & Finish (Princeton Architectural Press)
— Milton Glaser, Drawing is Thinking (Overlook Duckworth)
— Milton Glaser, Posters (Abrams)
— Joost Swarte, New York Book (Dargaud)
— Jean Jullien (Phaidon)
— Hockney Van Gogh, The Joy of Nature (Thames & Hudson)

— Wayne Thibaud, Draftsman (Thames & Hudson)
— Alan Fletcher, Picturing and Poeting (Phaidon)
— Alan Fletcher, Beware Wet Paint (Phaidon)
— Christopher Brown, Alphabet of London (Merrell)
— David Gentleman, My Town: An Artist’s Life in London (Penguin)

Resources — films

Resources — sketchbooks

These are my favourite sketchbooks (I prefer hardcovers):
Hahnemuehle Travel Journal, 9x14cm format, 140gsm paper, 124 pages
— Hahnemuehle Watercolour Book, A6 format, 200gsm paper, 60 pages
— Hahnemuehle Watercolour Book 100 % Cotton, A6 format, 250gsm paper, 60 pages
— Leuchtturm Pocket Sketchbook, 9x15cm, 180gsm paper, 96 pages (seemingly discontinued, but you can still find some online or in shops)
Leuchtturm 1917 Edition 120G, A5 format, 120gsm paper, 203 numbered pages (using currently as my larger work sketchbooks)
— Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook Classic, A5 format, 80gsm paper, 251 numbered pages (used previously for my larger work sketchbooks)

Resources — pens

You can make great drawings with any kind of tools. But good ones make your life easier and are less wasteful. Plus it’s good to experiment, entire new projects can come out of just trying a different tool. Most of the drawings above are done with these pens:
— Pentel Pocket Brush Pen — when I’m out, I usually carry three of these with me, filled with black, red and ochre ink (see below), while at my desk I have more colours
Rohrer and Klingner pigmented calligraphy ink — these inks have amazing colour range, I use all of them in brush pens, or with pipettes
— Liner pens — I use several brands, for example Molotow Blackliner, Faber-Castell Ecco, Uni-Pin by Mitsubishi or Rotring Tikky Graphic
— Caran d’Ache Fixpencil with B lead (used sometimes for light drawing under the ink strokes) — any good mechanical or normal pencil will do, but this is just a beautifully designed object and it makes me feel good every time I pick it up.

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