Category Archives: Collage

Doodle Characters Under Development

For those of you who have followed my work you’ll have already noticed that I have been drawing whimsical characters for a long time. Mostly, these drawings have remained in my sketchbooks, for years. They have also landed on any paper surface that happens to be under my pen and even on sidewalks with chalk when my children were small. This effort is what I call doodle characters under development.

Repetition and focused effort is the key to improvement.

To see a few of my past character drawings go here. Recently, I’ve been told that these characters need to lose the name: Doodle.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Character 12 for Art-O-Mat. 50 ink drawings on paper adhered to wood blocks.

Doodling has the connotation of being scribbled absentminded work.

I do not fully agree with this definition for my work. Because of this I am forced to reconsider the meaning of my doodle characters and my continued use of the word doodle. Through making the characters I give them life. Once they exist, they have a visual voice.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Character 15 for Art-O-Mat. 50 ink drawings on paper adhered to wood blocks.

The voice I wish for them to portray is to invite curiosity through whimsy. The characters are non-judgemental, full of life, emotional, and as much as possible I make them while being very present in the present moment. They may at first appear childish—but always contain deeper adult meanings.

I am wildly excited to share this new/old work in new ways! Especially since I have mentally re-framed what my doodle work has meant to me over the years.

While I make them and redraw them and paint them and collage them I think about how I will share their voice—which is ultimately, my voice. I have considered making t-shirts, cards, patterns, and yes, even fine art with them in the central role. All these avenues for showing the work can and will happen in the future. Still, I wonder, how will I complete the loop of the conversation that my art can and does ask for if viewers do not have access to the work in real life, right now?

This blog post is to let you know that you can view these characters almost as fast as I am making them!

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Join my blog using the form above. Each time I post a new drawing, video of my sketchbooks, or studio progress images, you’ll automatically see the work in your email box. Never more than 3 per week, I promise. I need time to make the work too!

Sketchbook January 2019, with a little December and February too!

I am once again showing the pages and the thinking behind keeping a daily sketchbook. The following pages encompass December 2018, January 2019 and a bit of February 2019 sketchbook. I always like a laugh, hear me know—it’s a page turner!

Honestly, if I could help one other person to enjoy the journey of personal sketching and journal pages, I’d be happy! Comment if I have made a difference for your thinking about sketchbook keeping after you have watched the video.

Suzanne Gibbs, December + January + February 2019 Sketchbook

Once in a while the pages of my sketchbook land me a commission fine art sale. This sketchbook was instrumental in one of these types of relationships. I took an idea from the pages of my sketchbook and remade the art on fine art watercolor paper. I am grateful for the work and most especially the ability to bring joy to a client!

While my goal for my sketchbooks are not sales, when I do get a sale from the effort the extra bonus is sweet and keeps me motivated to keep on learning through an exploration of ideas, materials, and musings. I keep the work purposefully playful and messy! The joy is in the making.

Sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project

This video is a page by page view and reading of my January 2019 Sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn, New York City.

Using found materials and collage I tell a story of creating love.

The Brooklyn Art Library hosts thousands of sketchbook made by artists from around the world. This sketchbook is my third and possibly final submission to the project.

Reason To Draw

Do you need a reason to draw?

Have you set in motion a resolution to draw more, make more art, write more, get better at painting or some other creative journey?

We are in the time of year for resolutions.

For some the resolution is loose weight, or make more money, or find a new job. In the circles I travel in, many people want to up their art practice, they want to draw better, or build on a skill that could make a difference in the art they make. This is all great. But I am also noticing that some people feel like there is a noose around their neck forcing them to think that they must draw and create or else they are not an artist. Or worse, not a worthy human being.

The best reason to draw is because you want to. You have something to say that is best expressed in ink and paint.

Still, you’re stuck. I can relate. Even if I used all my art supplies all year long, I might still have some supplies left over in 2020. Except sketchbooks!

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, Face Detail, sketchbook page.

Last year when this happened to me—feeling stuck, blue, wanting to give up my creative practice—I simply decided to fill one sketchbook as messy as possible in one month. An anything goes mess. Some days I did nothing. Other days I furiously filled many pages. Then, at some point I began to draw over and even paint over previous days work. Essentially censoring myself or obliterating whatever it was I had to say.

Interestingly when I shared the work on-line the comments I got were that I am not at all messy! This was not what I expected, at all.

What I learned from the experience (I did several months in a row like this) was that I had some pent up emotions that needed a place to land. I used a lot of Stabilo woody crayons (child-like), collage (cutting up and putting things back together), and black or blue paint (moody).

The point is: I showed up as me to fill the pages.

I did not get all hung up in my head about who I think I should be as an artist. I did not project the idea of perfection in my voice. That monkey brain tried to tell me that I was wasting my time. I was simply keeping a promise to myself: fill a sketchbook as messy as possible in one month.

Of course some days I felt like I was wasting my time, I did the work anyway.

Now my sketchbooks are getting more “pretty” again. More focused and more drawing practice. Fine, this is good for now. And I will be OK with that time when I need to get moody and messy on the page again.

Give yourself permission to scribble like a child would, it is ok!

And if I haven’t sparked your desire to draw, maybe this article will!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Fancy Hat, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

Thanks for reading, and please share your work with me! Anytime, anywhere.

More Sketchbook Sharing…

In 2018 I worked my butt off learning business aspects of being an entrepreneur. One such thing was creating work in my sketchbooks to share.

Being consistent and showing up with finished work (including process) is an excellent step towards professionalizing my artistic output.

Below please find 2 sketchbook videos I created in 2018. However, I neglected to add the work to my blog during the year. The sketchbook process work is integral to continued exploration of my personal themes and ideas.

With no further drum roll I bring you 2 sketchbooks where I share my process behind the work I make.

July 2018

August 2018


October 2018 Sketchbook

Suzanne Gibbs Art October 2018 Sketchbook is ready!

Each month I fill a sketchbook and share it here on my blog via video. Below you can find my October 2018 sketchbook. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions are always welcome!

My sketchbooks are made for ME, and generously shared with you!

This month I found I barely had any drawing in me and only a little bit of painting. Instead writing filled my pages. The important thing was that I showed up for myself. By doing this my creative spirit knows it can trust me. I believe soon, my drawing and painting will come back. I am patient with my creativity. Are you?

I invite you to make your sketchbook pages 100% personal!

September 2018 Sketchbook

Suzanne Gibbs Art September 2018 Sketchbook is ready!

Each month I fill a sketchbook and share it here on my blog. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions are welcome!

My sketchbooks are made for ME, and generously shared!

  1. Sketchbooks are my dumpling ground.
  2. I see something that I feel like drawing. I pick up my sketchbook and chunky Stabilo Woodies, gouache paint, or watercolor and just make the mess that needs to be expressed!
  3. I do not have a plan for these pages.
  4. Sometimes the pages are ugly.
  5. Sometimes the pages are notes, because the paper happens to be the most handy paper around when I need it.
  6. Sometimes I am doodling or capturing ideas from phone calls.
  7. Anything goes!
  8. I do not rip pages out!
  9. I do not work in sequential order.
  10. I do sometimes go back to a page and add more to it on a totally different day.
  11. I sometimes vandalize my own work with a thick layer of paint or collage.
  12. My sketchbooks are raw and unedited work that lays the groundwork for more specialized fine art work.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, Face Detail, sketchbook page.


Suzanne Gibbs Art ©2018, video sketchbook tour.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, 1/2 Faces drawn in my sketchbook.

Page spread from September 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

My Friend, The Sketchbook

One of my favorite things these days is my friend, the sketchbook.

My sketchbook gladly accepts scribbling.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

The handwritten word lands on each page.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

From other artists art I find inspiration and draw to my hearts content.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

Getting glue all over the place, I make collage.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

I make nothing in particular. For no particular reason and for no one in particular, except maybe me. To see more of my sketchbooks, try my YouTube channel.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

I capture ideas—they come to me, they are not mine.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

My sketchbook is my friend.

I am on a journey of unknown destination. My friend, the sketchbook allows the meanderings and musings to be captured, recorded, honored, and saved.

I’m in that liminal place between where I’ve been and where I’m going. I am uncomfortable and a little scared. I will stay here, in the pages of my sketchbook, until I know exactly which direction I’m headed next.

Will there ever be an exactly? A knowing? A clear and undeniable answer?

Likely, not. My sketchbook is one of my favorite things, and my friend, because I can rely on the pages to take what I have to offer.

When I need comfort, she’s here for me. When I need an outlet, he takes a beating.

Page spread from August 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

My friend, the sketchbook knows that to be silly is to use one’s highest intelligence because laughter heals.

I have learned in life, that what I write down, and what I pay attention to grows and becomes  real life, eventuality. The sketchbook, knows this too and the seeds spread far and wide.

The impossible becomes possible and what is impermanent becomes permanent inside the pages of a sketchbook filled from curiosity.

Picking up images, words, and musings everywhere I go, and everyday absorbing and applying them in my friend, the sketchbook. This is a place of unrestrained containment. My favorite place to be, with a friend—myself.

Health School Tales

The titles of my paintings contain meaning. In this BLOG post, I’ll give you a glimpse at what I mean by deconstructing an image of my small painting called: Health School Tales. I used found words and media from magazines to create a collage. Then, I painted this painting using my collage as a reference. When I collage, I work from my intuition and at a fast and fluid pace. Sometimes I am not even sure of the message I have created until I take the time to reflect on what I have made.

Health School Tales

The painting Health School Tales contains a butterfly, three words, a fish, a house on land with plenty of sky and a barn, and most of the images contained within the image are contained within their own outlines.

2015, Suzanne Gibbs, Health School Tales, rag paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75” $35

How to “read” this work:

Allow change – it’s silly to stay stuck
Get rid of what is not working
Be Honest
Use less than you think you need
Consider the environment
Have fun everyday
Be extra extra kind to yourself

Is my message immediately “understandable” in Health School Tales? Probably not for you, but I was the creator so it is for me!

To find out more about the series of work this painting came from, please visit the gallery called Reassemble.