I like to sketch.
I like the look of sketches. I like the way they show the idea of something. I like the idea of changing and playing with shape and form and color.
In fact, I generally like sketches more than finished artwork. That's why there's almost no finished artwork on my site. It's also why there are so many characters from my stories in sketches, doing things that have nothing to do with their actual stories, like Millie and Pig hanging out at a tiny Christmas Tree farm or trying to solve a Rubik's Cube.
I often sketch in homemade notebooks.
Don't get excited. They're not all that great. I often use old cereal boxes for the covers and cheap copier paper for the pages but none of that really matters. It's mostly about working out lines and shapes and poses.
Lately, though, I find myself sketching directly onto a tablet which, in addition to allowing me to even more easily play with line weight, shape and color, saves me from having to vacuum up an extraordinary amount of eraser bits that usually cover the couch, carpet, my pants, and everywhere else in a two foot radius around me when I'm sketching.
So here are today's sketches.
I hope you like them.
Anne Ryan (no relation... I think) is one of my favorite illustrators (and authors) and her website is one of my favorite websites! The main page is fine as far as those kinds of things go, but that's not where the magic is. For that you have to go to the Illustrated Notes link, where you are taken on a fascinating and unique journey into her creative process and how she works and reworks her stories and artwork into finished books.
Anne shows not only how she finds inspiration for her sketches, but also how she transforms those sketches to match the tone and theme of her stories. She even has examples of how she re-works, edits, and lays out the text of her stories using an example from her latest picture book "Unforeseen Circumstances", among other works.
I actually find myself more drawn to Anne's rough sketches than her finished art, although her style often incorporates elements of both.
It's something I try and do on this site, specifically in the "Sketches" section, where I show the really rough pencil or ink sketch next to the more finished (if you can call it that) artwork.
There is also a great video about Anne where you can see her studio, which is also one of my favorites of all time.
I mean, seriously, everyone should have to climb a ladder to go to work!