Jo Blaker – Sketchbook

By Jo Blaker


My granddads sketchbook

This book belonged to my grandfather, who used it during the Second World War for keeping records of things like soldiers equipment. Now it is my sketchbook.



For me sketchbooks are a place to draw, paint and write. They are miniature worlds and a private place where I can say, do and draw what I like and how I like. It doesn’t matter how things look – you can always turn the page and forget about the bits you don’t like. This makes a sketchbook exciting to look at – you never know what is coming next.



In my sketchbooks I make drawings from my imagination and observational drawings of people in public places such as cafes, libraries and train stations. It’s interesting to see how these different ways of drawing meet and mix within one book. I’m interested in people so my sketchbooks are full of quick drawings of the faces, clothes and bodies I see. Whilst I make these drawings I try to experiment with lines and pattern because this makes the process more fun.



Sometimes I just blob paint on a page in a colour I really like and then leave it. When I find it again a few weeks later I might draw on it, cut it up to use in a different picture or just leave it and wait for another day to use it.



While I draw stuff pops into my head – like words or phrases, ideas for a project, or ideas for another drawing. I jot these down as I draw and then leave them. They just exist as little ideas written down until a few weeks, a month or years later I find them again and get an idea of a way in which I would like to use them. At this point I usually start to work on them outside of my sketchbook. I’ll copy and cut them up, add them to another image or re-draw them on a larger scale or in a different way. This process is really satisfying and is why I don’t tear pages out of my sketchbooks or throw them away.



Over the years my sketchbooks change as I do. When I look at an old sketchbook I remember all sorts of little things about my life at the time I used it. For me, this unique connection to my own past can only be made in and found in this place.

Copyright Jo Blaker 2009

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