How to Use Sketchbooks to Develop Ideas [111]

Apple podcast

How do you feel about your sketchbooks? Inspired – or perhaps slightly guilty?

We recorded this episode in response to a listener question about the ways in which we both use sketchbooks. Louise uses many of her sketchbooks as judgement-free playgrounds, places in which to relax and explore while Alice does this kind of work on loose sheets of paper and keeps her sketchbook for a more thoughtful development of ideas, often amongst multiple books.

We both also have a practice of journalling about our art, although again in slightly different ways.

During the conversation, we:
• share how we’ve worked in the past
• debate our favourite sketchbooks and how much impact choosing the right format can have
• discuss the different ways that our sketchbook work feeds into our finished paintings

While sketchbooks are intensely personal – there is no right or wrong – we hope our ideas help to make sense of your own feelings about your sketchbooks (or lack thereof!)


Seawhite sketchbooks (regular):

Seawhite concertina:

Moleskine sketchbooks:

Stillman & Birn books:

Hannemuehle sketchbooks:

Handbook sketchbooks:

Robert Motherwell Storming the Citadel:

Artholes Podcast:

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Follow Alice on Instagram @alicesheridanstudio
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“Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

1 reply
  1. Jane Brannigan
    Jane Brannigan says:

    This was really interesting, you are both so passionate about your sketchbooks ! Loved listening to you both on this subject.

    I couldn’t agree more Louise, the concertina sketch pads have gives a new lease of freedom!

    . The small ones I find make great street scenes and fragments of buildings for small city breaks that i have visited, it is like telling a story and one image leads on to the next. As you mentioned being able to pull them out and work on large areas gives a lot more possibilities than a single page in a drawing pad.

    To go a little more abstract I you have both touched on scale and I think I will treat myself to a bigger one.

    Feeling a little excited to take a blank concertina into the gallery when I go back to work and make a steal like an artist book.

    Thank you xx

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