Thematic Sketchbooks

The sketchbook is the artist´s laboratory, a place for exploration and discovery. The practice of keeping a sketchbook may be greatly facilitated when the task of sketching regularly is organized around a theme: a portrait sketchbook, a travel sketchbook that need not necessarily be about going on vacation in grand style to see different lands and cultures, but can also be about itineraries in daily life, everyday routes and routines, imaginary travels, symbolic paths and narratives.

Specific subjects of the natural world: trees, animals (wild and domestic), birds, marine life, plants, a given landscape seen (or imagined) during a period of time. Or subjects of the man made world: collections of objects, from the banal such as shoes, hats, tools, utensils, etc., to the complex: digital circuits, mechanical or electronic systems, etc. From the small to the vary large. For example, considering the urban environment itself (or its subparts) as a kind of "super-object".

A sketchbook about modes of visuality would explore the different ways of experiencing and recording the act or the mechanisms of seeing, points of view and perspectives. The world as seen by machines that register and extend the field of visual phenomena: cameras, microscopes, telescopes, x-ray apparatuses, infrared devices, radars. And machines or graphic systems that convey information about paths and patterns of diverse forms of energy in a graphic language, such as seismographs, etc. Or the world seen by natural creatures or maybe by other beings and celestial creatures. Merging disciplinary interests in the sciences, in the social sciences, history or the humanities, with art would be a way of generating themes for sketchbooks.

On the formal level, a graphic template or grid, flexible enough to allow for improvisation, change and contrasts, would also be an instrument providing an underlying sense of visual relationships and continuity, adding and supporting the temporal continuity of the sketchbook practice.

As with the practice of writing a journal, developing a regular sketchbook practice can also be a very efficient way of discovering subjective patterns of feeling and vision in time. Something crucial in the process of developing a unique artistic vision and a personal creative path.

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