The Art of the Sketch


The idea is the foundation of all great art, but how to get a good one? First I think big by determining what universal themes I want to address, then I look at the details. It is the same with illustration and concept design – getting to the core of a concept then breaking it down into specifics. I create simple icons inspired by words from a story or scene then cross reference and overlay them to produce new images. Beginning as thumbnails they evolve into loose sketches.

I love the tactile quality of a pencil moving against the surface of paper. It connects my mind with the world of image potentiality. Many of my early sketches are indiscernible scribbles and smudged lines yet slowly they declare their secrets. This is usually enough information for me to get started on final art.



Every so often I will put a sketch through a process of collage, or scan it into the computer to flesh it out more, but the initial idea is born from those primal marks on paper. My ideas flow out onto notecards, scraps of tissue or on the back side of used printing paper. I know that artists throughout time have loved the freedom associated with the sketch whatever material it is drawn on. It is fascinating how some roughly hewn lines can imbue a sense of wonder, explain an idea or tell a story with such vitality. This is one ancient and timeless technology that is not going away. In the 80s and 90s we used FAX machines to send our sketches to the client. Sometimes that tech became part of the sketch!