Each month I create a page by page view of a sketchbook. Below find my January 2019 Sketchbook.
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!
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!
Thanks for reading, and please share your work with me! Anytime, anywhere.
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.
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!
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!
- Sketchbooks are my dumpling ground.
- 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!
- I do not have a plan for these pages.
- Sometimes the pages are ugly.
- Sometimes the pages are notes, because the paper happens to be the most handy paper around when I need it.
- Sometimes I am doodling or capturing ideas from phone calls.
- Anything goes!
- I do not rip pages out!
- I do not work in sequential order.
- I do sometimes go back to a page and add more to it on a totally different day.
- I sometimes vandalize my own work with a thick layer of paint or collage.
- My sketchbooks are raw and unedited work that lays the groundwork for more specialized fine art work.
Suzanne Gibbs Art ©2018, video sketchbook tour.
One of my favorite things these days is my friend, the sketchbook.
My sketchbook gladly accepts scribbling.
The handwritten word lands on each page.
From other artists art I find inspiration and draw to my hearts content.
Getting glue all over the place, I make collage.
I capture ideas—they come to me, they are not mine.
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.
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.
I am so excited to announce that my first ever digital Sketchbook Project sketchbook is ready to be viewed!
A link to the little book. Whoot! Whoot!
Celebrate with me!!!! Happy Dance!
Some of you might recognize her:
I filled this little book with tons of silliness. I was pretending that my doodle characters were talking about their first ever trip to NYC—only to realize that once they left my studio they would need to stay and live in NYC—forever.
100% silly. 100% personal.
I have moved so many times in my life that I have lost count of the number of places I have called home. In fact, I moved again last week and I am still getting used to my new “digs.”
You know what else? I LOVE NYC! LOVE LOVE LOVE! I often joke that if I had an unlimited budget I’d move to NYC and gobble up all that I could for two years. Like a kid in a candy store going to every single art museum, gallery, and paper goods or art store that I could find!
If the book looks exciting to you and you’d like a paper copy of your own, let me know! I have plenty in stock!
Here is a link to the purchase page.
Sharing a new series that includes ladders, from a three pronged approach.
I recently completed a series of work that simply needed to snap on out onto paper using ink and gouache paint. In my past work, a common theme has been the use of repeated motif’s. Most commonly, of dots, squares, and lines. This little series is no exception. What I added, is the element of ladders.
For the past few years, the idea of ladders has been resurfacing again and again in my daily writing and sketchbook doodles. This series represents the first full use of my previous motif’s with the addition of the ladder as a symbol.
In my research, ladders are chalk full of symbology. Here is a small snapshot of my findings:
- used for going up
- used for going down
- a connection of earth to the heavens
- a connection to the underworld
- used as a metaphor as in, climbing the corporate ladder
- ladder as a way to the glass ceiling
- Jacob’s ladder
- DNA resembles a ladder
- used for escape
- ladders as a symbol of blue collar work
- ladders to reach the unreachable
The list of uses for ladders is seemingly endless! I will be continuing my research and my fascination of ladders later this year, possibly for the next few years. I will continue to share more ideas about ladder through what I draw and paint. This blog represents and insiders look and a first time peek at the process I use to take ideas from that initial spark to the realization of a series of works following a theme or idea.
Ladders as a theme and idea can be endless.
What is not endless is the three pronged approach I use to connect viewers to my art: Instagram, Facebook and my blog are the steps to reaching my audience.
Below are sample images from Instagram of my recent series utilizing a ladder as a symbol in the creation of the work. These images are of “in progress work.” Scroll to the end to see the finished series as it hangs on my studio-factory wall.
After quite a few days of working silly dorky doodle darlings last night I felt compelled to work on a more serious series. These 12 pieces are not yet finished-I want to add one more layer of color-but they will be available for sale as a set very very soon. If I have an interested buyer before I load it into My Etsy shop we can privately discuss special pricing. Please feel free to contact me in the comments or from my profile. Typically my small work sells for $65 each. I am excited to have these move to the right person’s home or business. In the next few hours or possibly tomorrow I will post a video of work in progress and some close up images. These are created on Italian watercolor paper with ink and gouache. #smallart #artforsale #sillygirlfactiry #gouache #inkonpaoer #worksonpaper #art #illustration #drawing #abstractseries #abstractart #ladder #laddertheme #dots #circles #line #lineart #happytoshare #fabrianopaper
The past month I have completed the commission project I spoke about in the image below and I have moved into a new series that I will be working on for at least the next 3-4 months. More information will be available about my next series next week!
Here is how I would hang the work. Either framed individually or as a whole. Please ignore the little magnets. Thank you…
However, before I put this little gem of a series away into storage or on Etsy, I’d like to offer it here to my blog readers first. $600 buys all twelve pieces of work, including domestic shipping or buy one at a time for $65 each. Simply email me and say YES I want the work! I will send you an invoice and the work will be on it’s way to you!
Do ladders have special significance to you? If so, grab these while you can! Or tell me why I should make more ladder work, I’m very interested in feedback.
I believe in giving things a try. Dart tossing means that I have been operating under a personal motto: ”Give stuff a try, toss a dart, you never know what will work without trying.” When I have a new idea, or something interesting repeatedly calls for my attention, I will usually pick up the idea and give it a go. I liken my style of creating to tossing darts, I have needed to toss many to hit the ever elusive sweet spot.
Dart tossing is no longer working for me.
To perfect my craft and my voice though art, I’ll need to stop picking up every fun and interesting idea and begin to work towards one direction, at least for a little while. From May—October of this year I plan to do one body of work with one singular focus! No more darts! Hard work ahead!
You heard it here first!
To test the waters of Silly Girl Factory vs Fine Art by Suzanne Gibbs, I have opened a new and second Instagram account that will focus on my Fine Art. The plan is to make work that matters, work with my heart and soul poured into it. Two Instagram accounts means I am having an art identity crisis in public on social media.
What kind of work can you expect from my fine art focus?
Below are images of work from 2014 from a Solo Show (the work is currently hanging in my living room, and can still be purchased) I had shortly after my MFA in 2014. I called the show Blemish, finding beauty and peace in upset and discomfort, this link takes you to a blog post about the work.
The work from my Blemish show included abstract works made in layers. The idea for this body of work was to have my viewers question what I covered up vs what I left visible. I made the work using acrylic, oil paint and encaustic. In my current studio I cannot use encaustic , and I no longer own a full set of oil paint, but I can continue to make work.
My new body of work will be drawing and painting abstractions from the abstractions I see in the world. Simply complex, sometimes repetitive. I cannot fully visualize the work yet, as I begin to put pen to paper or paint to wood I will allow my intuition to be my guide. I am excited to share this journey with you, and I hope that I have (actually I KNOW that I have) a team of supporters that will keep me on my path for the next 6 months.
Please nudge me away from my days of dart tossing!
Call me, email me, scream at me through social media… any way you can get my attention, please do! I welcome the support and the nudge to focus! In the past, I have always been a go it alone type of person. I now realize that I need a team, support, and a community to build this thing called an art career. Dear reader, I count you as a part of this team and community! Love my followers!
In the meantime, I am finishing up a project for Art-O-Mat! An example of a possible location can be found on this blog post (click on link). This Art-O-Mat project is one example of dart tossing! I sent in my work for review and I was accepted. I am drawing and painting 100 small works of art that will be sold through re-purposed cigarette vending machines! Below are images of work in progress, to see more work in progress join my Silly Girl Factory Instagram here.
45 Dorky Doodle Darlings. Ready for the next step! 100% excited, not sure why I made 45 when I need 50! Must cut more paper and make extra, because when I work there are always a few pieces that do not make the final cut! Drawings on paper and painted with gouache. They may get some special treatment with markers, they may not. Either way it felt really good today to be in a productive zone with my work. #drawingfactory #paintingfactory #creativeinspiration #gouachepainting #sbsadrawingaday #sketchbook #drawfromaprompt #sketchart #sillygirldraws #sillygirlmakesart #penandpaper #dailyprocess #mydailyprocess #showingupforinspiration #allowingtheinspirationin #dailyhabit #topofmind
That’s all I have for you today. The adventure called life continues. I continue to create and share the journey, even as I am floundering (a little) and re-evaluating (a lot). To support the work I do, buy a book, some art, or share this post with a friend. Thank you!
An alarm wakes me up!
A few days ago it rained here so much that the septic system alarm for the building I live in roared to life in the middle of the night. Sometime between 1AM and 2AM the alarm began to blare and never shut off. As I understand it, the ground was so saturated that the system was on overdrive. The alarm is a precaution for users to, well, not flush… This alarm woke me up!
The alarm kept ringing all night, the rain kept coming down, there was no respite from the noise. While it was still dark out, I put my headphones on and went into the factory studio to work. Only one building away. I could still hear the alarm, even through the headphones and music. At least now I was using my time productively instead of lying in bed in anger!
What wakes you up?
For some, this question might provoke worry, for the kids, finances, a lousy boss, health issues, and all sorts of other normal life moments. For others, the question, what wakes you up, might stir up wonderful passions and ideas!
Lately, I have been waking up excited to greet my day. I have a deep desire to get all sorts of ideas and projects out of my head and soul and onto the paper and into the world.
Last month I awoke eagerly each day to fill a small sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn New York.
Awaking early each day to greet my studio practice. This time with my iPhone alarm, not the septic system, I enthusiastically created work as a factory worker would—unafraid of repetition and productive labor. My factory studio is a laboratory of labor and love. While a painting a day, a sketch a day, or a journal page a day may get finished, my work is never done.
Capturing fleeting moments in paint, ink, crayon, marker, or whatever tool sparks ideas is the joy in the business of putting the moments that capture my attention into place. Lately, my work has landed on sketchbook pages and watercolor paper. Simple squares, circles, dots, and lines nod to rivets, parts, and pieces of repetition and the building blocks of something bigger. Weaving these basic motifs into patterns and texture I invoke the viewer to look and wonder. Creating curiosity.
With the sketchbook project I added these motifs onto dorky doodle darlings—characters, if you will—creatures of my imagination.
However, the raw unfiltered nature of the end result kept me up at night! The evening after I hit “order now” I was already in the zone of, ugh…it is not good enough! No one will want it.
The order arrived and the booklet is ready for an audience.
I ought to allow the audience to decide if it is “good enough.”
What wakes me up at night?
Knowing I may now have inventory that will never reach the consumer. Yet, I have already begun my next project! While hoping there is an audience for the last one…
Here is Hipster Hiker! Just one of many!
Tune in next week for more information on the Doodle + Word + Ladder Project.
My last project was a book. My Year of Separation is the title. I mailed copies of it to customers all over the world this past week! Super exciting! If you are interested in the book: My Year of Separation, please order soon! Go to the Factory Store to order. I only have 2 copies left in the factory and I am not sure when I will order another print run.