Book Review: Keeping Sketchbooks

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In recent years, I've seen so many books on sketchbooks and sketching being published. And here's another that talks about sketchbooks.

Keeping Sketchbooks explores why people keep sketchbooks and the things that people write or draw in them. The author is Martin Ursell, an illustrator that I've not heard of. Many of the featured artists in this book are also unknown to me, which is a good thing because I've seen so many familiar faces from the Urban Sketchers group being featured in books that it's started to get a bit... boring.

This book starts by talking about how you can choose a sketchbook and the things to look out for, the variety of sketchbooks that are out there. Then it goes into what you can fill it with. There are how-to-draw instructions. This book is like an introductory guide to sketchbooks.

The later chapters focus on specific types of sketchbooks, such as use for reportage, travel journaling, collecting random thoughts and imagery, and using it for professional use, to improve yourself. The writeup is insightful, fun to read, and there are several artist interviews.

The artists featured are

  1. Peter Thomas
  2. Phil Carter
  3. Ben Hendy
  4. Debra McFarlane
  5. Aldous Eveleigh
  6. James Oses
  7. George Butler
  8. Joanna Wilson
  9. Cornelia O'Donovan
  10. Andrew Baker
  11. Donald Sammut
  12. Daniel Haskett
  13. Pradita Gurung
  14. Paul Barritt
  15. Jake Abrams

If you have been sketching or have kept sketchbooks for years, then perhaps the book has nothing new to offer. But if you like reading about sketchbooks and about artists who keep them, then it's still a good book to get.

Keeping Sketchbooks is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN)

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