• My last sketchbook doesn’t exist.

    And I’m grateful.

    Do I want to dilute my artistic legacy with books full of scribble?

    The winds swept across a vast endless expanse of sand. Resulting in rolling dunes that grinds whatever remained of the last civilization into dust. A lone traveler pulls something out from the debris. A book. He opens the book wondering what advanced knowledge his ancestors have left behind… It’s your sketchbook…

    I’ve been using a LCD drawing tablet. It’s a device with a pen that is about as advanced as an Etch A Sketch. I draw on it and then press the erase button and then I never have to look at the drawing ever again.

    Some of you might be horrified that I’m creating art work only to be destroyed.

    But my use case is using this for practice; educational sketches (please keep that in mind).

    Because I’ve come to the realisation that keeping all my practice sketches, in a sketchbook, or anything else. Really has almost no value at all. For me or anyone else.

    Is this some-kind of controversial opinion? Am I committing blasphemy against some sacred ancient tradition between artists and their sketchbooks?

    A sketchbook is like a artistic growth medium. And after you have grown your skills the pages within show the history of your progress. But then I had to ask myself how useful is that really? How useful is a large catalogue of errors with incremental improvements? What am I going to use that for? Nothing. It was mere practice to me. As soon as I had finished drawing the drawing had already completed its purpose.

    Why should I keep it? I keep on trying to think of a reason why these sketches, the ones I make for the purpose of education and self improvement, would have some kind of value.

    Will they ever be an financial asset? No. Unless I become a really famous artist. But sketches don’t really have much of a wide appeal to your common consumer. They really only appeal to aspiring artists I guess who are curious as to how you developed. Then they can like… place themselves in your timeline in the hope that they will become like you or something. But I don’t think the average person cares enough to waste their time looking at the unpolished foundations of your skills.

    Are there near unmanageable hordes of people wanting to see the sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci in the British Royal Collection. Or is nearly everyone going to worship the Mona Lisa in the Louvre? You know the answer. … Yes it is a cherry picked example. I still believe in it. It makes sense and matches what I’ve seen.

    What about it being an educational resource? Might be useful to have a record of my occasional successes. Take note of what I’ve done right so I can copy it later?

    But then I realised that has never really helped me towards my goal of accurately keeping these skills in my head. If I’m putting aside some instructional piece of artwork for later, maybe because I just happened to achieve a new skill for the first time and I want to refer to it, that just means that I haven’t drawn it enough to internalise it. I’m keeping it because it has value due to its rarity in my skill set. When I should be really be devaluing it with constant practice.

    Also referring back to a imperfect home-made copy of something has never really helped me anyway. I should be referring back to the source from where I got it from. Unless I want to continue to copy the same errors I’ve made over and over again. Like those youtube videos where people trace/redraw the same thing in a cycle of devolution. Funny stuff.

    Also drawing on something that guarantees the destruction of the sketch is really liberating from the fear of paper; that you might be making a catalogue of errors for people to look back on. It just gives you the freedom to experiment and practice new perspectives that you might not be familiar with. I’ve been using this LCD board to also sketch little thumbnails of designs, so I can try to get the layout correct, before I commit it to paper. And has also saved me a lot of trouble from having piles of scrap paper laying around my desk. Or just another sketchbook filled with scribbles that my sleep deprived brain made me draw close to midnight.

    Never loose the courage to put pen to paper though. Or you’ll find yourself practising yourself to death. When your dreams no longer fit in your potential. Because you ran out of time developing skills that now no one will see. A library that burnt down before it even opened.

  • I’ve made many reviews on pens. Or maybe some of them would be called a ‘product impressions’. I think I’ve built the most of my audience around the reviews of pens. As well as other art supplies. But about a year ago (ok maybe longer) I had a realisation that all of these reviews could possibly be teaching my audience something that I didn’t believe. That you need new or expensive supplies to make good art. I couldn’t disagree more with that.

    In fact, when it comes to the world of pens (the subject I normally gravitate around), I find that the laws of diminishing returns starts quite early.

    You can can spend 200 dollars on a fancy reusable pen. Or 20. Or maybe 10. Is there any difference in the end result? No. Is there any like… undue suffering caused by using a cheaper pen?

    No.

    It seems that there is an equal variety of practical pens in the $20 price range as well as in the 200 dollar price range. You don’t need a 14K gold nib; a good steel nib can feel just as good. I once watched a video of blind folded people writing with steel nibbed fountain pens and also gold alloy nibs and they couldn’t tell the difference. The feel of a ‘superior pen’ is just so subjective.

    The only two factors I’ve found when it comes to a pen that really matters is:

    • I can hold the pen for long periods of time without getting RSI or something?
    • Can I get used the feedback of the nib as it’s dragged on the paper?

    Quite often just a cheap plastic pen body is more than adequate for a pen grip. It is more grippy than metal I find. And also I can quickly get used to the feedback in almost any cheap pen.

    So it was never hard to find a pen that matched my needs. I was just on a foolish quest to replace my lack of skill with some kind of superior drawing tool. I the hope that I would find some kind of implement that would no longer inhibit the creative energies flowing down arm so they would effortlessly pour onto the paper. When all I really needed to do was to get used to the tools I had. Because its only an unexpected hurdle that will trip you up.

    The best kind of pen is the one that you are used to.

    So in short: I might never make another pen review video ever again.

    And that is going to be very difficult for me. As you’ve probably noticed as I haven’t made many videos over the past year.

    Because making a review video on some product is really easy! Once you’ve become used to looking at many similar products. You can just spend time with the product for an hour and get the general idea of what it is like. At least just enough to seem knowledgeable to those not as well educated on your little pet subject. So if you buy product to review, of the kind that your used to, eventually it seems that your just buying a ready made video script. The video just seems to write itself. You don’t even feel that you need to be particularly creative. The product just seems to tell you its merits and also what’s wrong with it.

    How to make a ‘Product review’ for Youtube:

    All you do is sit in front of the object with the camera rolling. You open the box. People seem to like it when you open the box. I don’t personally find the fascination with opening the box. We all know what’s in the box; that’s why we clicked the video. Then you take each object that you find in the box and put it on the table. At this point find something mundane to complain about. This will make you seem knowledgeable about the product as you’ve already found some nuance that your viewers didn’t detect or even think about. Then after you’ve rambled on about the accessories for a few minutes and thrown the instruction manual away in a comical manner (because no self respecting reviewer would read an instruction manual on camera to reveal their ignorance). Take out the main article and start pointing out all the differences that you can recognise from similar products. If you’re finding that difficult just point out the specifications which you can read from the instruction manual that you pretended to throw away earlier. If you are good at multitasking you can even pretend to use the product, like drawing with it or typing with it, while you are talking. Or you can bicker with some unseen and unheard person off camera. Now when coming up with a conclusion for the product make it easy for yourself and keep it as non-objective as possible. It’s hard to weigh up all of these facts and figures, like who has time for that. So just look at the object and take the emotional impression it gives you and pretend that it’s a logical decision. Then you justify your decision by grabbing random little possibly unrelated facts from the specifications. For example you could say: “I don’t mind this laptop. I just wish it didn’t… (look up a specification)… have an Intel processor. Because I prefer … a PowerPC .” Or some kind of nonsense like that. And do not elaborate any more than that! Otherwise you’ll show that you have on idea what you are talking about to every side of the argument. Then say goodbye and beg for submissions or whatever it is.

    Also I find that it is easy to make an entertaining review as lots of people do enjoy listening to people complaining about stuff. And if you complain enough they might even be grateful because you “told the truth” about what might be an extremely subjective subject.

    The other advantage with product reviews is that they are vastly more searchable and discoverable than some personal creative project. Unless you already have an audience… good thing I started making review videos I guess then…. no one might know about me otherwise.

    Anyway I’ve found making any other kind of video with isn’t a review/’product impression’ video really difficult recently. I’ve already made quite a few videos which are not review videos and they are really bad. So I remake them again and they are somehow still not to my satisfaction. So they just sit on my computer for many weeks until I delete them out of disgust. I think I’ve remade one like three times, including re-filming. Sometimes starting from scratch and it still looks like something which was made without any care at all.

    This is going to be an annoying and awkward transition… into a thing called hard-work!

    But I will persevere.

  • Positive Feedback

    So I’m just going to start dropping art I create on this ‘blog’ of mine. With little explanation of what it is or what it represents.

    I often have trouble with my ambitions getting in the way of making any progress in my endeavors. ‘Perfection is the enemy of the good,’ I keep on hearing. But not always applying… Is it not better to have a sketchbook fulfill its purpose, than leaving it empty from all the trash art you’d put in it. A poor chance is better than nothing.

    Well that was a poorly thought out and disjointed paragraph. I’m leading by example here.

  • This is the drawing I did at the end of this video. I drew it with a pen I made from a stick of bamboo. Sometimes it’s good. The ink flow is a bit much sometimes. The drawing was completely unplanned without any sketching in pencil etc. I find in that scenario a slightly unpredictable pen is acceptable… Yes it’s also a bit strange.

    Drawn in a a3 sketchbook, which was very nice. I don’t often draw on A3 paper. My drawings are often very small.

    If you want to make your own bamboo pen you watch the beginning of this video:

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