An Observation on Sketchbooks…

Art is very high-tech nowadays. Terms like “Mac” and “Adobe” are probably the first thoughts that pop up after hearing titles like “designer” and “illustrator”. Before tech ruled the art world (this was actually not very long ago), artists of all disciplines had to master both the art and craft of their practices. As a production artist who makes a living doing the craft for designers and illustrators whom focus solely on the art alone, I often long for the days when artists of all stripes pined for sketchbooks, illustration boards, kolinsky sable brushes, pigment, and most of all, cherished a trip to the art supply store instead of the Apple store. Yes, tech has allowed us to go above and beyond so many limitations of traditional art supplies, but it was, and still is, a fact that pens, pencils, and paper provide a better initial landing pad for creative impulses emerging from the mind of an artist than keyboards, screens, and Wacom tablets.

I pondered the above thought after reading the below bolded line in a description of this one illustrator. It stood out because sketchbooks stand out nowadays like sore thumbs in a shiny and pricey world of computers,tablets, and apps. Ten years ago, this wasn’t the case, and artists were quick and proud to show off their books instead of their files. It’s the reason that the illustrator here does awesome work that is not only great to look at, but also stands out wonderfully nowadays in a seemingly endless sea of vector lines, digital gradients, and every other filter-generated visual effect:

Jess Douglas is currently based in Lyme Regis, but grew up on party island Ibiza. Jess mainly creates drawings from life, with a splash of personal style thrown into the mix. This is a person who I imagine carries a sketchbook around all over the place, ever improving. Probably as a direct result of this, cars, buildings and people make up the majority of Jess’ portfolio. It is like a mini-document of urban culture, which is fascinating to me. I wonder why the illustrator chose to draw this particular building over another for example. There seems to be something interesting about every subject chosen and that comes through to us, the viewer.

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