Daniel Nisbet

Episode 3  |  January 12, 2018

The Importance of a Sketchbook

When I started out as a graphic designer in school one of the biggest things that was preached to me was the importance of a sketchbook. And daily, for four years, I would sit and draw on scraps of paper. I would draw during class. I would draw because I was bored. And then something interesting happened when I went into the real world: my sketchbook started to get thin.

Over time, I found myself not sketching because I was bored. I wasn't sketching to come up with the next great idea or anything of that nature.

As I started taking stock over my career in the last few months, particularly with the new year, one of the things I realized is how much I stopped relying on a sketchbook. It was kind of a shocking revelation to myself.

So for 2018 I've set a new goal and it's already being put into action right now. I'm coming up with a small “just for fun” kind of a side project. One of the things that I wanted to do in this project was challenge myself. As of lately my process for doing something like designing a logo has been to jump into Illustrator find some fonts that I like. I'd then find some inspiration and immediately dive into creating sketches and illustrator. Which is fine.

It's a good a process, but what I realized was that I wasn't truly exploring some ideas. Ideas that may have been a little more out there than what I was coming up with on my art board. I don't think I was getting to the best possible solution for a lot of my work.

One of the things that I to stress is that when we walk away from a coHaving being out of practice, I've noticed almost immediately though is how much g magical about picking up a pen and paper. It's fun sitting down with some nice music on and letting the ideas flow and put things out there. What's interesting about my own process, is through this I came up with a lot of terrible looking things.

I can definitely tell my sketching ability has suffered a little bit. Having being out of practice but one of the things I've noticed how much I'm starting to improve and grow. I'm getting different ideas out there. I'm exploring things that I may have never otherwise explored. Its a fresh approach from sitting in a program on my computer, dabbling in Photoshop, or even using my Wacom tablet. It's interesting to see where this process takes me.

So like I said for 2018, my goal is to use and carry a sketchbook. And so far we're only a few days in but it'y amazing to see how much it's started to impact my work and everything.

I'm not sure you know if you've come up with any kind of ideas or are thoughts on resolutions or goals for 2018 but it's something that I would encourage anybody who's listening to go out and do. What's great about a sketchbook is it doesn't need to be fancy. It doesn't need to be top of the line or anything of that nature. It could literally be a legal pad and a ballpoint pen.

But it's something that I would encourage everybody to go out and do. Even if it's for five or ten minutes. Sit down and see what you come up with. It's interesting when we get away from a computer, and when we get away from the inspiration sites, to let our minds wander and what it can unlock.