The Importance of Sketching

behind the scenes creative process flashback memories sketching stories

Every teacher, mentor, or professional I have had the pleasure to know has at one point or another drilled into me the importance of sketching. The thing is, I have never really been into sketching. I like doing. Just jumping in and getting my hands dirty. Sketching in the silver. Usually, I have a clear idea in my mind of what I want to make, but sometimes I do fly by the seat of my pants a little. I think it varies based on my expectations for the final result. (Is it a finished piece for someone else? Is it just a quick something I want to wear tonight?) Mostly I just like to try it out and see what happens. That is a key part of the learning process for me. Thirty sketches won't help you if get the material in your hands and you realize it isn't going to work the way you thought it would on paper.

That said, I was recently looking through some old sketchbooks trying to find the original plans for my magic bracelet because I thought that would be a neat addition to my post about it. Well, I didn't find them. In their place, I found sketches of things I never actually made. And OMG, so glad I never made them!

Take this mobile. Likely inspired by an Alexander Calder book I saw at the library or perhaps during a visit to the museum, I wanted to try my hand at creating wonderful floating objects. Given the skills I had in my pocket at the time, this is what I came up with:

Sketchbook: Copper + Beads + Mobile = Nevermind

Yes, you're reading that correctly: copper pieces, clay pieces, beads, wire... A veritable haphazard monstrosity I had apparently intended to affix to the light fixture in my bedroom. I literally laugh out loud at the thought. Thank you, former self, for not having had the time to execute this project!

So perhaps that is why it's an essential part of the creative process. We sketch to solidify designs, to problem solve tricky pieces, but most importantly, to get out all those mediocre (and possibly even terrible) ideas onto paper before we make three-dimensional mistakes.

Have you ever revisited an old idea and been thankful you didn't see it through? Tell me all about it in the comments!


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