A new book reveals the scribbles and sketches contained in the most personal of a designer’s possessions: their notebook…
A visual communications title like CR tends to focus on the finished article: the work that
made it into production. Often as interesting, though, are the workings-out that precede the final outcome: the sketches and drawings and ideas in development (as we featured in our November 07 Work In Progress issue).
For the majority of creative people, the sketchbook is where such ideas take shape. In a new book published by Laurence King, Richard Brereton has gathered together a whole range of pages from such sketchbooks, belonging to a selection of illustrators and designers.
It’s most definitely an intriguing prospect as it offers a glimpse into a private world of unresolved ideas, pre-formed jottings and the obsessions of many a creative. The sketchbook, as Brereton writes in his introduction, can be “a visual diary” or “simply a place to play”.
Of course, the way in which an artist uses his or her sketchbook denotes the kind of work on show in the book. So while Lauren Simkin Berke and Serge Bloch offer up a range of charming workings-out (which, in Bloch’s case, were towards a commissioned job), Pablo Amargo fills his pages with considered collages and Renato Alarcão displays a series of watercolours that he, apparently, often completes in 20-minute sessions.
For Peter Saville, the experience of recording things in a notebook is more self-analytical. “The work one does for others is less personal and rarely emotional or biographical,” he says in the text accompanying his work. “My notebooks have one subject: what is my work and what is the point of it?”
While the work included here is, essentially, the private made public, this insight only jars when the work is displayed as a piece of Art in its own right, devoid from its context within a sketchbook.
Most, fortunately, have been photographed as is and this makes for a much more interesting (and more appropriate) examination of the creative process. When that happens, Sketchbooks offers glimpses of a fair few unseen treasures.
Sketchbooks is published by Laurence King; £19.95. This review features on the books page of the March issue of CR