Sketching and Hidden Treasures

I believe in sketching your ideas. Whether it is programming or art, sketches give you direction. They allow you to discover what is going to work or not, prior to spending a great deal of time with the actual materials. Another benefit, at least for me, is that the little drawings and notes end up sitting on my desk hidden beneath other items of the day.

Sketching is not something I have always practiced. I started applying it to all creative projects when I started painting plein air. When working outside, in the moment, there are numerous distractions and elements that change a view or your state of mind. For about a year, I “jumped in” without a plan and my paintings lacked composition, structure, and unification. I did not want to sketch; just go.

When something is not working, I try to take another approach. I started sketching prior to each painting. Not only did the art improve, but  the drawings became easier and my message became clearer. Now I practice sketching with all projects. A few minutes at the beginning and I have plan. I also have a record of my ideas.

For several months I have been stumped by a view for Mabell’s Zoo (an interactive picture book for children). While clearing off my desk, I ran across a sketch. After looking at it for a moment, the idea sprang forth of how it could work. The drawing was the idea I wasn’t ready for when it was created. Hidden below a couple of magazines and envelopes it waited until today when I found it.

What a great moment to discover I had already started the plan. Now it is time to execute.