“A good idea is just an idea until you make it real." -Dee Arisman

The idea is the foundation of all great art… but how to get to a good one? Sketching is one way. It has been my experience that the art of ideas are birthed through the sketches that begin to define them.

For many sketching is a matter of seeing. Understanding eye-hand coordination is important to drawing skill. The more you practice the better you get at it. I like to say, the beauty is in the doing.

For me the sketch is more about mining ideas, sensing compositions, feeling out the possibilities. In my career as an illustrator in publishing or as a concept designer in film diving deep into the imagination is crucial for success in these fields.



There are different techniques to arrive at a good idea through word and image association, doodling, random serendipity, meditation, contemplation, research, spontaneous combustion, the list can go on and on. I brainstorm images that connect to words in the story, poem, or song.


Article on women who lose their babies in child birth.


I start by determining the important facets that need to be addressed in a story, or image. Then I cross reference lots of simple icons in the form of thumbnails and loose sketches to lock in a unique concept. This process can be labor intensive and take a while. It is the hardest part of the job and can be incredibly frustrating because I do not want to rely on borrowed interest or rehash cliched ideas. I keep digging for it.


Linda Perry Album cover.


When the scribbles start to blossom from the mind’s eye, a certain excitement starts to build within me. The drawing can be small and very rough, yet I can feel a new image being birthed and the potential of what this art can say to others. It all begins with the sketch.


Delirium for DC Comics.
Stay tuned for part 2.


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