Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Panning for Gold

Here's a comic scanned straight from my little Moleskine notebook:

One of my editors once told me that sometimes, to get to the really good stuff, you just have to put a lot of your lesser ideas down on paper. To me that's the importance of sketchbooks and notebooks -that is, making a habit of scribbling and putting your thoughts down. Most of those thoughts and ideas won't really go anywhere. But the point is to keep doing it.

I've kept sketchbooks for years, but it's only been a few months since I added a smaller notebook into the mix (the little, black Moleskine), and it's been a boon. I carry it almost everywhere and I use it to sketch rough comics, sneakily draw people in coffee shops, write thoughts, journal entries, and generally scheme. Here are some pages (I've blurred out a couple silly lists):

You know, I've loved the idea of the battered, illustrated journal/diary ever since seeing Dr. Jones Sr's grail diary in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. How many of us still keep pen and paper diaries, I wonder?

24 comments:

Red Herring Jeff said...

Great post, Ben! I usually have two sketchbook/diaries going at the same time (one big, one small) as well as a ton of little scraps of paper and post-it notes. :) Thanks for sharing!

Ben Hatke said...

Part of the point of the smaller notebooks for me is to cut down on the scraps of paper. they do crop up though. I used to keep my daily lists and scribbles on legal pads. It was "business like" but very ugly in the end.

I then moved to daily lists on a folded 8.5X11 sheet. One per week. But those ended up everywhere. Now I keep my lists mostly in a text file or in my journal.

kevinmcevoy said...

Great post, I couldn't agree more. Somebody asked a sculptor friend of mine what his favorite work of his own was. He replied "My favorite work is whatever I am working on at that moment. But that usually doesn't last long."
I love these pages from your notebook, they are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Ben Hatke said...

Hey Kevin, I was just reading your blog this morning and really relating to your frantic balancing of family life and creative pursuits. Playing jigs while making pancakes... That's how it is.

Marlene E. said...

Oh my, you aren't alone. I have... maybe six battered pen-and-ink journals? Not to mention the many old sketch books that are collecting dust in a forgotten corner of my room.

Professor Henry Jones, Sr., FOR THE WIN. :D

Faith E. Hough said...

Ah...moleskines, how I love them.
And I've heard similar advice to what you editor told you: "For every good painting, there are a hundred bad ones that need to get out of the way first." I think it applies to all the arts--we need to experiment and practice!

fearlessmanta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pratheek said...

Hi Ben,

I keep all my notes, ideas in my notebooks... i enjoy this longhand process a lot. It helps a lot to be able to go back and read my earlier notes (which would have been ctrl-z-ed if i was writing on a comp). I stopped drawing a long time back - though I always wish I returned to it, and whenever i see sketchbooks, i want to start drawing again... thank u for inspiring!

:)

Ben Hatke said...

Thanks fellow journal-keepers.

I've noticed that my older journals were full of reflections about things in life, but that my newer ones are more forward-thinking, more about schemes and plans and ideas.

Anonymous said...

Please post more!!!

Ben Hatke said...

More notebook pages? Okay, I will soon.

Ben Hatke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Niagra Tang said...

Oh my gosh I relate! So many times have I written something and thought, "Wow, this is gold!" And then later I look at it and think, "Woah, what was I thinking...this is so..." insert terrible/cheesy/no-one-will-get-it. I tend to have inside jokes with myself. Love you blog post.

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