The Growing Importance of my Sketchbook

My sketchbook. Kelly O'Brien ©2017

My sketchbook. Kelly O'Brien ©2017

One of the things that is becoming central to my studio practice is sketching. For an artist, this sounds obvious, right? Yet I didn't start out with a foundation in drawing beneath my work - I dove in and made things...handmade paper, artist books, handmade boxes to house my new work. Even when I started doing large sculptural installations, I only sketched when I had to, for proposals and applications. It just wasn't something I'd been schooled in or was comfortable with.

Kelly O'Brien ©2017, sketches for new burned paper objects

Kelly O'Brien ©2017, sketches for new burned paper objects

Lately I've been making friends with my sketchbook, finding ideas, inspiration and grounding within its pages. It's turning into an indispensable early step in moving from the hint of a new project to making things happen.

Kelly O'Brien ©2017, sketches for Fifty Bees: The Interconnectedness of Everything

Kelly O'Brien ©2017, sketches for Fifty Bees: The Interconnectedness of Everything

I'm now to the point where I use sketches to give a client options for a commission, to ensure we're on the same page and clear about where things are headed. I know this is old hat to many artists, but for me it's a growing confidence that my sketches don't have to be fancy to get the job done, or for me to feel good about them.

Kelly O'Brien ©2017, sketches for client commission, Playing With Fire No. 40.

Kelly O'Brien ©2017, sketches for client commission, Playing With Fire No. 40.