Category Archives: Sketchbook

Sketchbook May 2019

This video is a page turner video of the May 2019 Sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs. This month I focused on drawing people in public places.

I wonder who will comment or see the fly that flew by to take a look while I was filming! 🙂

A shout out to Sketchbook Skool for developing an online course called People Drawing People. The class was great and filmed in ways I have not seen anywhere else online. I was 100% inspired by the lessons in this course.

Please note: I do not get any kickbacks or money for giving a great company a shout out! I am simply sharing gratitude.

Nothing To Say

Since January of this year I have been working on a new body of work. The working title for this series is: Nothing To Say.

The work is challenging me in new ways. Instead of painting spontaneously and with great emotion, I am slowing down. Creating tons of drawings in my sketchbook leads to many more ideas than I could ever execute. Spending at least a half hour early every morning morning—before coffee, before the sun wakes up—writing in a notebook I sift out and capture what I wish to say visually.

I began the year thinking I had nothing to say. A day at a time my thinking has changed.

My morning view

Below is a video of one of many full sketchbook of faces and character studies.

Each larger painting begins with a fully realized smaller study. Using collage, I cut up security envelopes and assemble them into abstract faces. This satisfies my fascination of how we use pattern to obliterate information.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Nothing To Say Series, Tea Cup Brow, flashe paint, ink, gouache, collage on paper, 5 x 7, $200

After sizing up the study to fit the new format on a cradled wood panel of 14 x 11 inches, I begin to lay down the paint on the new larger size.

Work in progress.

Seeing the work larger has me thinking of so many new ideas. I now have more visual problems to solve, based on what I want the painting to communicate.

I am finding that I do have something to say!

Somehow the idea of a zipped mouth came to me. Maybe during a brisk cold morning walk? Anyways, once the idea came I knew that the execution needed to be flawless. The paint I use and the message I want to communicate has no room for “do overs” or layering of paint to make it right. I want the work to BE just so and correct on my first try. This required drawing studies of zippers, over and over again.

Zipper study.

When the pieces are fully complete, I include a great deal of detail on every piece. With that comes the need for just the right sized brush!

Sampling of brushes. The smallest ones are 0 size, the largest are a 6 flat.

I add details over the flat surfaces of paint. I have skipped discussing my color choices in this blog post for brevity sake.

Zipper detail.
Eye and nose detail.

The final work made me feel really excited about this new direction. I have since completed 4 more pieces that I will unveil soon. And this morning I began a sixth in the series.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Tea Cup Face, flashe paint and posca pen on cradled wooden panel, 14 x 11 inches, $450

In Nothing To Say, I have combined faces or characters, household objects, and flat areas of color juxtaposed with painted patterns. The deliberate creation of detailed patterns represent repetitive labor that goes under-appreciated and often unpaid.

Security envelope detritus.

My inspiration came from the insides of security envelopes—a product made as protection for the contents within. However, in actuality they obliterate the message, and usually the contents are related to financial affairs.

The zipped mouth alludes to the unheard voices of the unnoticed many. And, once again, I am finding I do have something to say.

Sketchbook March 2019 + Plus

Recently I had to move out of my studio. While doing so I found two sketchbooks that I had started, but never finished. Determined to not let the pages go to waste, I began filling the back half of the sketchbook(s). Shared here is one of the two books.

In the beginning I found that a few pages were not as complete as I wished so I went ahead and drew on top of what I had created in 2017 and then also moved forward and filled the book.

Filling an older book is not nearly as much fun as taking out a new book to fill and imagine the rules and possibilities for the pages. However, I did find that by following through on the idea of filling what had not been filled I was forced to look back at my work. With that came some self evaluation. A good step in a solid studio practice.

The pages did get filled, but the more important part was the lesson I taught myself.

Primarily, I kept a promise to myself—I filled the pages.

Keeping promises can be tough when there is no boss, no one clamoring for the work, and what I promised to myself felt dull once I started. Still, I did the work. So, without further explanation I bring to you my March 2019 plus previous work from 2017, sketchbook page turner!

As always, if you like the work and even if you don’t feel free to comment. Let’s have a dialogue about keeping studio promises!

Sketchbook March 2019

My March 2019 sketchbook is a different size than February’s book. Due to travel, I worked in a smaller sketchbook that I could carry in my bag.

Join me below for a sketchbook page turner!

Represented in these pages are drawings made in several locations. Dinner guests in Eugene, Oregon. Railroad museum in Portland, Oregon. Lunch in Arcata, California. And I even stopped in the Redwood National Forest in Del Norte California to draw elk in the wild.

Interested in more sketchbook pages? Please visit my blog (and use the search feature to find sketchbooks). You may prefer to visit my YouTube Channel. When and if you do, please hit like or subscribe to follow the work as I make it, thanks.

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.