Sketchbooks & Process


All creative work must begin somewhere.

That “somewhere” is generally unkempt, to say the least. But stepping back a bit from the slovenly linework and disjointed ideas reveals a piece of art, a magical composition, always unintended but pleasantly surprising. For the sake of this thought train, my attention is focused on visual art and the “somewhere” native to that discipline: Sketch studies.

Sketch studies are scary and wondrous places.

They unshackle the mind and give license to move within and around ideas. Studies explore nuance and grand contrasts in equal measure. And above all else, they open the door to surprises—happy accidents—that can, in fact, reveal far greater ideas…notions that would never have seen daylight without this unbridled investigation.

Sketch study for my Mad Hatter illustration. © 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

The excitement to explore new ideas can leave a creative with barely a single breath. But at the same time, the mind can struggle against the pen in an effort to achieve perfection. And it will cringe when an errant mark defiles what was once beautiful chaos. That’s a good phrase: beautiful chaos.

I’m reminded of the Mad Hatter (Tim Burton’s version) because I think he exemplifies that phrase. So let’s investigate things that begin with the letter C…curiosity….creativity…..creation……a crazy calculated and clever cacophony…….uh, sorry, I’ve digressed.

But yes, chaos. It can be beautiful. Disarray and disaster, within an elegant frame.

© 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.