March 06, 2006

NEW YORK sketchbooks: moleskine miscellany

I warned you all that I'd be skipping between subjects, so as I'm too busy with work to write anything portfolio related for now, a brief sojourn into sketchbook land--I'll return to the cute kids when I've got a second. For now:

I feel like I didn't accomplish much in NYC: drawing-wise, I mean--nothing too finished anyway, although not even much quicksketch. I really spent most of my time just seeing the sights--meaning everything in sight--but still, I guess I managed to fill two moleskines and start a big sketchbook of chromacolour paper. Most of the time I wrote; not very well mind you (I'm barely literate, which is why I like pictures), but, those things I couldn't describe in words, I described in sketches, doodles and highly ineffective paintings--and then that's when the camera came out, you see.

Anyway. What follows are pages somewhat representative of the type my moleskines are peppered with; footnotes, I guess, of a bigger, broader experience. A couple more posts will follow to show the whole spectrum; hope you enjoy.

On a crosstown bus with Jen, I kept miss-seeing things;
building ornamentation takes the form of slugs, ponies and ships

One sketch of many from a sculpture by Carpeaux--
the security guard reassured me that I'd do better next time.

Sketches from the American Folk Art Museum;
painted box and weather vane.

Excited Brooklyn ladies on the subway, on the town.

A colourless, formless sketch of dusk's descent on Central Park
from the gift shop of the Cooper Hewitt.
Bookmark it!

A helpful East Villager shopgirl.

On the bus downtown, Christmas Eve day, and below,
the work of a young Edward Hopper in Paris; the Whitney.



  1. Anonymous1:58 AM

    dont you find writing visual
    thoughts or any other ones for that
    matter in a sketchbook self indulging? its this big self awarness sensation thats not always any case maybe
    I am completely wrong
    and its a good sensation
    once I read thoughts of one guy in his sketchbook and almost wanted
    to burry myself underground for the
    shame I felt for him and for me
    having witnessed all his self indulging psudo-intellectual masturbation
    for the record nobody knows I was looking at his private toughts even though he was very much into someone
    taking a peek inside when he was
    not around leaving his sbook here and there
    curious what you think?
    good sketches btw

  2. hello anon,

    yeah, i dunno if it's self indulgent to write or draw stuff for yourself--one of the roles of ART proper is to work through some sort of personal disparity between one's internal and external lives. at the same time the need to broadcast this kind of thing is something else entirely and in some cases, I'm sure, a betrayal of a need for attention and sympathy.

    as far as self awareness goes, nothing wrong with trying to understand yourself and your world--it sounds like a good thing to me, and probably the origin of all philosophy. as for who determine's whether something is intellectually worthy or not, i'm not one to say; i think judgements of sincerity or earnestness are more important, and if, in the end, the person is discovering things for themselves and it's legitimately important to them, however you feel about it, good for them. of course not all the things we realize are so incredibly genius-y--but hey, we're all on different paths, with different timing--maybe the next thought will be a great one.

    in terms of looking over someone's shoulder and peeking in to their private life, sketchbooks are often written and drawn in and so should be handled with care. people in the past have previously thought that I enjoyed both being spread around-this isn't true at all however, and I tend to think it common sketchbook courtesy to look at the pics and not read the writing; but it's all sort of an individual thing. in this case, if i'm posting stuff up, written or otherwise, then i guess i'm okay with people seeing it.

    but anyhow, thanks, i guess.
    poopy sketches, i'd say, but fun times. anyway, i like showing my process--i find it interesting and mystifying myself.

    and i would ask--if the sketchbook isn't a place for "writing visual thoughts or any other ones" what is it good for? only WORK related stuff? only "artwork" with no thought? is there ever a place for that?

  3. great sketches Nick

  4. Lovely sketches! The skinny girl with glasses (second pages from top) is gorgeous!

  5. Very gracious of you both!

  6. The east village shop girl, the solid, lyrical (red) arms of the sculpture, the new York Matron, the architectural details...these are fantastic.

    I don't mind being a bit of a voyeur and reading your notes if you don't mind putting them out there...Thanks for sharing, Nick!-Arna

  7. i love the shop girl, she is so effortlessly draw everything I can only dream of drawing.I do try to achieve tht kind of strong characterisation but fail miserably..maybei'll post some one day. anywho i love the sketches please do more, you inspire me greatly..cheers

  8. These are all brilliant man. Really impressive stuff. Reminds me why I love your sketches.

  9. SUPERB post!! Interesting & fascinating to see another artist's sketchbook. Those moleskin books are great to draw in but expensive!