sharing your sketchbook kills creativity


Artists enjoy sharing looks in sketchbooks, but not many people have seen any of my sketchbooks. People have certian expectations especially for designers’ sketchbooks: the typical Moleskine posted online. They have to be clean and every line has to be perfectly straight, or perfectly curved as if the sketchbook was a painting. There’s a big difference between sketchbooks for working and sketchbooks for showing off.

I should say you may have work that you did spend an hour on, but that’s generally art, or not for-profit projects.

When you’re working on a project, the only point of your sketchbook is to quickly sketch your possibilities; not waste an hour sketching an initial concept as if it’s the actual piece. The creative process is a mess. There’s eraser shavings. There’s ink. There’s splatter. There’s sawdust.

When I show my sketches, I scan my sketchbook, crop the parts I want to show, and print them off on a single page. Letting the client see the full page is like handing over old junk documents instead of just the latest version. It’s like a photogapher handing over blurry out of focus shots. It’s like a director releasing out of angle shots to the public. That work is respectably none of their concern.

They aren’t supposed to be looking at great masterpieces in your sketchbook. There’s nothing wrong with showing quick to the point sketches, but there are portions they don’t need to see; that’s just how it is.