fabriano sketchbook with drawings

Why Keeping a Sketchbook is a Good Idea

For those of you who have never kept a sketchbook, the process might seem a bit intimidating at the start. ”But I don’t know how to draw!,” is the response I usually get when I talk to my fellow photographers on their ways of keeping ideas.

Truth is, drawing is the least important element when it comes to a photo-sketchbook. You can think of it as a journal where ideas and concepts find their place. My doodles look more like they’ve been drawn by a toddler, but that’s not even the point.

Sketchbooking can sometimes be similar to keeping a diary, although our thoughts, views and ideas are drawn instead of written.
two fabriano sketchbooks

I use mine to keep safe ideas that come to my mind during brainstorming, to write quotes, lyrics, dreams, fragments of overheard conversation, or just scenes from real life that look like they’re scenes from a movie.
All of these things inspire me and together they create sort of a mind moodboard. Going through old sketchbooks is like revisiting old worlds that have faded over time, but the trace of their previous existence is still evident.

fabriano sketchbook with drawings
I like to draw little sketches (completely unrelated to photography), write quotes and lyrics, glue inspiring designs and illustrations and try to understand what it is I like about them. (From the top: album Origin of Symmetry by Muse, Heligoland by Massive Attack and a poster by Danijel Srdarev)

fabriano sketchbook with drawings

When I’m not feeling particularly inspired, I like to go through my sketchbook and take a look at white I put down on paper. Sometimes previous ideas will give life to new ones and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t write them down in order to remember them. When, during winter, I get ideas about a shoot that can only be possible to do in the summer (or vice versa), I quickly draw the basic idea. These ideas are flexible: the clothing can change, the setting my vary, or I can decide to completely ditch the shoot altogether, but I like to keep a timeline of my own thought process in this way.

fabriano sketchbook back pocket
Back pockets are great for cutouts and ripped out pages and I like to keep them varied and overall inspiring.

As my sketchbook I use a regular A4 Fabriano 90g 6$ notebook from a local paper store. On the inside of the cardboard back cover, I like to attach a little pocket where I collect interesting cutouts or moodboards.
It’s entirely up to you what you will use as yours. It can be a plain notebook or a fancy hardcover diary type; after all, you’re creating your own little world!

fabriano sketchbook for photography

Does keeping a sketchbook/journal work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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