Imagine someone asked you to open your secret diary in front of them and read it out loud. Or even worse, in front of a camera. Would you do it? How would that make you feel?
This is exactly what THU does with the Sketchbook series. We ask some of our favorite artists to take us on a journey through their sketchbook, to open it, flip through the pages, tell us what they are thinking, how they feel, what they desire. We ask them to reveal their soul, share their secrets, fears, and dreams.
Sketchbooks are an artist’s comfort zone. It’s the place where they are free to experiment and draw without thinking about it too much. Some drawings are the base for others, some are just doodles, some record memories, and others are left incomplete. Although many people think that an artist’s sketchbook is supposed to look like one of those books you buy in an art store, with a collection of perfect and beautiful sketches by that artist, this isn’t the case. That’s why when THU approaches the artists and asks them to record an episode of our unique Sketchbook series with them, they are often taken by surprise. The fact that they aren’t ready to do this is what makes this series all the more real and intimate.
“I’m always very scared of starting a new book,” says Karla Ortiz. “When people open a book they expect the first image to be fantastic. But I like to start in the back, because it’s something I’m doing for me and it feels safe.”
Ruan Jia uses his sketchbook to practice his skills and usually doesn’t show it to people. He made an exception for us, something Scott Eaton couldn’t bring himself to do. “I believe that artists should be very protective of their sketchbooks and not show them, as a rule,” says Scott as he closes his sketchbook in the beginning of the episode. “Your sketchbooks are precious, a place to experiment, they’re a place to fail, a place to do things that you don’t know how to do.”
Claire Wendling’s sketchbook is something she usually keeps for herself, as a reminder. “When I’m not inspired I just have to check on my sketchbooks to remember what was my mood that day,” she says. “It’s like a giant post-it block. Don’t forget to remember this idea.”
For Iain McCaig his sketchbook is something a little more precious, to take care of. “In the hopes that maybe a hundred years from now someone finds it and it becomes a little piece of treasure for them.”
For Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery a sketchbook is an intimate space, one he allowed us to enter for an episode. “No one was supposed to see any of this,” he says while going through the pages. “This is a very strange experience right now, because I feel very exposed, and very self conscious.”
For an artist, it can be terrifying to reveal their process and share what goes on in their mind with an audience. That’s what made Crash fall in love with drawing in sketchbooks again, because they don’t require you to do that… at least not until THU comes along to film an episode for Sketchbook.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question: is a sketchbook something you should share or not? It really depends on the artist and how they feel about it, but at THU we are very aware of how lucky we are to have been able to film all these fantastic episodes with some of our favorite artists and their sketchbooks. Click here to watch!