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Wes Molebash: sketchbooks should be full of fails

A great post by Wes Molebash:

Michael Jantze left that comment on my Instagram, and I?ve been chewing on it for awhile.

I like looking at other artists? sketchbooks online, and I tend to get intimidated by them. To me, sketchbooks are utilitarian. Sometimes I put some finished art in there, but – for the most part – it?s a testing ground. It?s a place to practice and try new things. A lot of my sketchbook pages are only half-drawn; usually because I lose interest or want to start over. So when I see beautiful sketchbook art, I start to doubt myself and my ability.

But Michael is right: sketchbooks should be full of failure. Sketchbooks should be home to half-hearted ideas and poorly drawn images. Why?

Community Comments

#1 Gerry Mooney
April/22/2014
@ 3:15 pm

Well of course! Isn’t that what sketchbooks are for?

But what puzzles me is, why would anyone go to the trouble of scanning and posting a bunch of half-baked sketches and ideas? To show that you can do it?

Meh. Guess it’s just me.

#2 Tom Falco
April/22/2014
@ 4:02 pm

We have had sketchbook shows at local galleries. They were projects where anyone was welcome to submit their sketchbooks, sort of bearing their soul. Very intimate and very artistic.

#3 Marie Rouppet
April/23/2014
@ 1:21 am

From a personal branding standpoint it might be counterproductive to post poor quality art samples. Diehard fans might appreciate it but it would drive away newcomers or potential clients who will think you’re an amateur.

#4 Brian Fies
April/23/2014
@ 11:26 am

Yes, this is why I don’t get artists publishing their sketchbooks and would be horrified at the prospect of doing so. You need somewhere safe to suck! If I approached my sketchbook with the thought that it might be published someday, I’d need another sketchbook to try out ideas to put in my sketchbook.

#5 Mary Lawton
April/23/2014
@ 12:06 pm

This post really stirred something in me, because my sketchbooks, going back thirty years, are embarrassingly messy and awful. I often want to throw them away but my husband stops me! I’m not one of those cartoonists who makes awesome doodles, not sure I ever have been! I’d never show them to anyone, post them anywhere, or ever think of having a show of them. My kids may look at them in thirty more years and find them beautiful, who knows!

#6 Karsten Schley
April/26/2014
@ 6:49 am

@Gerry – no, it’s me, too. :-))

I’d never publish my sketchbooks. Never ever. They would take me to jail or the funny farm at once.

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