A Sketchbook Spread

I've been really busy lately with a number of illustration projects that, for one reason or another, can't go up on this blog just yet. So I've been casting around trying to think of something to put up and I decided upon a page from my sketchbook. Just a page selected totally at random and spontaneously photographed, not because I thought it was the best one but because I thought it was representative.

sketchbookI take exception to anyone who says that what I've actually done is chosen the one double-page-spread that doesn't look like it was daubed by a particularly slow-witted four-year-old using their morning eye-crust instead of paint or ink. But I'm going to take the highroad, ignore their misplaced judgement and just say this:

"Yeah, so this is just a random page of doodling from my sketchbook that I'm putting up this week because I don't have any real work."

I would not say this if, when you added all the hours together that I actually spent drawing this spread, it'd easily be enough to get you through a good two-and-a-half Lord of the Rings films (my standard unit of time measurement). If that was the case then it would spoil the effect.

With this next photo you will notice that I've accidentally gone in real close and you can see any of the detail you may have missed in the previous photo. But it's laid out haphazardly so it's clear I was shooting any old way and this is just a happy accident. If, in actuality, I took upwards of forty photographs and then laboriously whittled them down to the four that looked the best then I would be a fraud. The feeling of devil-may-care rebellion created by my randomly scattered pens and artistically cluttered desk, that I in no way carefully arranged, would be ruined.

And look! Not just one close-up - here's another. Even though I don't really care if you can see the finer detail because I'm not doing this for your approval:

So yeah, after I didn't cull the photos that weren't good enough I basically just uploaded them straight away as they were taken. Luckily for me they happened to have the same look as images that'd had a dark shadowy iris added to them on Photoshop before someone played with a curves adjustment layer and messed with the hue. Photos that had then been converted to Lab colour and had an unsharp mask applied to the lightness channel before they were converted back to RGB and had their levels altered one last time. Yep, luckily my artificially lit digital photos taken with a crappy point-and-shoot looked like this without me having to read a tutorial online and spend the best part of an hour on Photoshop.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is absolutely nothing artificial about my art or anything that I post or say on this blog. The only thing I can think of that would be worse than that level of artificiality would be someone who tries to get away with it by writing a confused metafictional commentary that exposed themself.


In all seriousness - I don't want to turn you into a cynic and would like to point out that most artist sketchbook pages you'll see replicated in books or photographed online are completely natural and the way the sunlight filters through that gently unfocused glass mug of black tea in the background is one-hundred-percent coincidental. Also, it is a complete lie to suggest that the first thing anyone does with a scanned in sketchbook page is adjust the contrast until it looks way better than the original.

I find that images of artists in the middle of painting or drawing in their studios whilst listening to their iPod in a sunbeam and looking serenely pensive and unaware are particularly devoid of artifice. Especially if they just happen to have some other canvases or artwork propped up in the background.

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