An Artist’s Process – Motivational Sketchbook Read

This book has been on my “To Read” list since it was first published, and I was eager to start reading it the moment it arrived. I’m interested in the “urban sketching” scene, and follow quite a few bloggers that post their work online — France Belleville-Van Stone being one of them.

Sketch! is filled with her illustrations — of people, places, animals, cars, and even the mundane parts of life such as the contents of her bag or her running shoe. She explains in this book that it’s not talent that creates a good artist, but dedication and time. I found this motivating, because she knocks down the excuses of “I don’t have time to draw” or “I’m not talented enough.” By keeping things simple and quick, you begin to develop your skill by just drawing the world around you — whether it’s a pencil on your desk or the car parked in the driveway.

This is not an instructional book, but more of a look into how one artist goes about creating urban sketches and how she views the world. It catalogs her journey from the amazing Bic pen artwork she spent hours on in high school, to not having any time to draw after having a child — and how that got her into sketching faster and simpler subjects.

She explains her favorite pens, sketchbook paper, and watercolors, and rather than photos of her art supplies, they’re all her own illustrations, which I thought was neat. There is even a chapter on “Going Digital”, which goes into how she does some of her sketches digitally using an iPad — which styluses she likes to use, the best apps, and helpful tips or quirks for each one.

Sketch! is a 134-page softcover book which I spent a weekend reading and enjoying. If you are interested in learning more about “urban sketching” with an insider’s view of one artist’s method and process, this is a fantastic read. It won’t teach you to draw, but it might inspire you to get started, and maybe spend that fifteen minutes drawing in a waiting room rather than idly staring at your smartphone. I really enjoyed this book!

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.