doodle and scribble

doodle and scribble

Sketchbook and diary.

We full-time professional artists are too often rather bad at bookwork. That is a crying shame because keeping records is very important. Crucially self-employed one-man or one-woman concerns like ours have to be business efficient to survive for any length of time. So accounts, marketing, sales, contact records, dates of meetings, lists, archives, capturing fleeting ideas, noticing and recording subjects, shapes, and colours, and so on, are very necessary to survive and thrive as serious artists.

Ugh! Bookwork? Many of you will now want to switch off. Please don’t.

If you want to be a full-time pro-artist then you have just got to be a business professional as well. That is what much of this blog is all about. It is very different for leisure artists. So if you are a leisure artist who enjoys making art but has no intention of selling, exhibiting, or mixing with people who might want to enjoy your art, then by all means switch off.

Still here? Then on we go.

Why and what are sketchbooks for?

Sketch-books were traditionally the way to capture visual experiences. We used to carry one around with us where and whenever we went. Artists used to carry handbags holding sketchbook and crayons, even big strong male artists.

…see previous blog about sketching for reference

It is very tempting nowadays to use the super camera on your smart phone to capture visual reference rather than sit down and sketch. In fact much of the time it is indeed more efficient and quicker and more varied.

However sketch-books were also places where you could doodle and play around with visual ideas. You could develop these ideas into real art later. You could create as well as capture. So sketchbooks had and still have dual purpose.

The same goes for diaries. They can be much more than little booklets where you keep your appointments and remember birthdays. This is where you can record a variety of things and ideas as they happen. You can include plans for the future. You can jot down and record money numbers as you spend. You can capture what people say about things. You can doodle and scribble here with words.

These creative processes have always been a very important way to get the best out of our creative brains.

New and next.

In the very near future we will all use computer and mobile phone apps instead of actual paper diaries. And a convenient sized tablet/pad or large-screen phone will be used instead of a sketchbook. It already happens of course. But some of us are not embracing this opportunity. And many of us are not using the technology to include all the possibilities that are available and needed.

Another advantage of using a phone or tablet app to replace paper and pencil is that the file can be quickly and safely stored in the cloud. The record can be transferred to a laptop or desktop computer that can further develop the digital information.

It can be easier and quicker and more efficient.


Do you have an accounting app on your cell phone? Do you record business thoughts and leads that pop up during the day? Do you doodle and play with shapes and colours?

Are there good apps that enable us to completely replace pencil and paper?

If you know or use a good phone and tablet app that fully serves the traditional purpose of sketchbook and/or diary please let us know.

Onward and upward into the future.