I agree. Drawing in a sketchbook provides an immediate, and satisfying, medium for recording the world, and for experimenting with new pictorial ideas. For me, I like to draw people in railroad stations, cafes and in parks; I like to imagine people I have never met and to animate their faces with lively or deadpan expressions; I also like to use my sketchbook to invent places that have never existed, but which might make good subjects for a more finished drawing or painting.
My sketch, featured on the cover of Drawing magazine, Summer 2016, with an article about my sketchbook drawing practice inside.
Yes, my sketchbook is analog, not digital. I like to draw on smooth paper with a gold-tipped fountain pen (Mont Blanc) that responds to the pressure of my fingers, and to smear the ink with a small wet brush to quickly establish volume and gradations.
I have nothing against digital sketching but, at the moment, pressure-sensitive tablets with integral CPUs aren’t cheap enough, or small enough, for me to get started. I’m ready to jump when the marketplace changes.
Digital technology, of course, permits an artist to endlessly press “undo” to reverse an unwanted effect, and to continue working until a desired outcome is achieved. Analog sketchbooks, on the other hand, can contain lots of loose ends, mistakes, and false starts. But there’s also a value in failure, and having a private venue for experimentation and what-the-hell. At times, I’ve been surprised to get ideas from what I had thought was a wreck of a sketch, noticing some unique visual detail that comes through that didn’t survive in more finished, careful work.