This exercise got me thinking a lot about sketch books and the way I use mine compared to other people and the way that I use them has been influenced and altered over time. I could see that the idea of a visual diary was going to alter my use again. In order to get my head around it and before being able to process all the material I had collected, I needed to think about the changes in my working processes.
I started using sketchbooks sporadically many years ago.
I made drawings in pencil or black pen. They were all observational, the majority were poor but the occasional one worked. I didn’t date the books and only drew occasionally.
The next stage started when I began attending life classes in 2000 and then a painting class as well. I initially hardly used sketchbooks during this period, my drawing style was completely taken apart and I had to rebuild it over a long period. After a while I started using the books again, the drawings I did do were so messy and loose that people were often unrecognisable as human, let alone a likeness. I discovered Auerbach, Schiele at this time.
3rd stage: by 2007 I was very dissatisfied with the work I was doing in sketch books, wanted to connect the improvements in the life classes with my sketch books. As a consequence the drawings became more recognisable as humans. I had started doing some drypoint printing during this time which suited my drawing style at the time.
In 2008 started a new phase. After I had finished a few books I started to revisit old books, adding watercolour/gouache. I decided that one of my books from 2004 was so bad I cannibalised it, adding colour and cutting out chunks of paper to add to other books.