To Sketch, Or Not To Sketch

Using my sketchbooks have never appealed to me for years now.


The idea of creating something that is good enough to be happy with, but not too good to become a finished piece is bizarre. While many art teachers would be livid reading this, it’s my honest view on these strange books. I will propose counterarguments to points made by people who say you should use a sketchbook.


  • They let you explore – While I can agree that’s true, it’s not always kept that way. My sketches led me to lay down palettes of color and texture to use later on. I know what works and what doesn’t work, but then again, I received the same experience through my trials and errors of creating art without much thought over my sketchbook. We don’t all start out as “Caravaggios,” but even his techniques resemble that of a pioneer. Instead of using sketchbooks to formulate the whole idea of a Baroque piece, he would paint, and paint, and paint. His years of painting experience brought him to realize his true passion. He explored by going head-on through the world of chiaroscuro.
  • They hold your ideas – When all is said and done, holding onto ideas becomes a personal preference. I become content with my finished piece, not my ideas. It can also be argued that they let you learn and can be used for future reference. While that is true, I prefer to use my art experience rather than notes and sketches. My knowledge seems more trustworthy since it gives congruent evidence that a certain skill works with a finished piece.
  • They lay out foundations – This statement is one that I mainly agree with. I can’t count the numerous times when I used to immediately draw on the canvas without much knowledge of the composition, then again, this was years ago. I can appreciate drawing good thumbnails and experimenting with color, much like in, “Peppermint and Potatoes.” Again though, that’s all I see my sketchbooks as. This leads me to my final argument…
  • They are a form of art – It almost feels as if it defeats the purpose of it though; to strictly learn and practice art. Unless I have always been thinking about them the wrong way, sketchbooks are just a platform or medium that don’t seem as professional. I’ve been ridiculed several times for not having 16x20in. arches paper, gold plated, with a side of truffle oil, made by an Italian worker in Germany. I don’t think this mindset is what makes me dislike using my sketchbook though. I’ve seen several of my peers who actually enjoy using their sketchbooks make incredible pieces. While sometimes sketchy or detailed, it’s unclear whether they were made for themselves, or for others. If for themselves, then it becomes a matter of experience, but if made for others, then it becomes more of a finished piece up for critique.

CharizardIt seems as if sketchbooks hold their own little world if done a certain way. I guess that’s what makes them so special. They can be done several different ways. Alas, I do not have the will to intentionally use them for anymore than to experiment with. If need-be, I can use my sketchbooks for practice with a certain style, but never will I have the urge to formulate a completed piece in them. It almost seems unethical to do so, but maybe that’s my mind speaking, and not my heart.

Please leave a comment below if you have any critiques or comments, or simply just LIKE and SHARE!

For more, visit Tristan’s Website

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.