Sketchbooks are not just for sketching. They are for cutting and pasting, colouring, mind exploring, writing without rules. Unbound by lines, a sketchbook is whatever your imagination makes it. Following the first time we sent our plain paper notebooks to five creatives to see what they would do with a blank page, now we've sent a handful to six new talented folk from across the creative industries for more spectacular results.
Josh Shinner, photographer
Josh is a London based photographer and people watcher. He specialises in fashion and portraiture but has a serious penchant for scrapbooking and doodling.
"I use my sketchbooks as very simple scrapbooks for the most part. I'll usually just stick a Polaroid or a 6x4 print in and then write a caption and do a little doodle (which I’m rubbish at, but enjoy). Photographs are always so much better printed than backlit on a screen and I just rather like this way of keeping them together."
Jessica Dance, textile artist & model maker
Specialising in creating tactile, handcrafted models and props, Jessica's commissions span across the worlds of advertising, art, editorial and installation. Her work is a warm hug in what can often feel like a cold, digital world.
"I always have a sketchbook to hand and they are usually full to the brim of 'to do' lists, notes, sketches and fabric! My sketchbook would probably make no sense at all to anyone else but makes perfect sense to me (most of the time). There are a lot of different processes involved in my work, whether that's creating a new knitting pattern or working out dimensions for the foundations of one of my pieces; getting it all down on paper helps me to plan and organise a project… and clears my head."
Chris Eckersley, artist & designer
Known for his award-winning furniture designs for Heal's, the Conran Shop, Liberty, Lloyd Loom, and many others, Chris spends his spare time researching 'good proportions' in design and architecture.
"The buildings of Le Corbusier have held a particular fascination for me for many years, and I am often off 'Looking for Le Corbusier' as I call it. I always take a sketchbook on these trips and usually the first blank pages are used for some preliminary notes or drawings, a quick record of whatever I think may be useful for further study on my return."
Nina Cosford, illustrator
An illustrator living and working in Hastings, Nina's work tends to focus on female narratives; exploring the everyday ups and downs of modern life with a well-found balance of humour and sensitivity. Nina thinks illustration can be a very powerful mode of communication which can speak to people universally on many different levels.
"I love drawing buildings! I like to study them and look out for any unusual features; trying to work out when they were built and who might live inside. Here, I've drawn a pink Queen Anne style building in San Francisco. I've visited the city three times and am always in awe of its colours and beautiful scenic streets."
Alexander White, furniture designer
Alex's award-winning work spans private commissions to public artwork and commercial products. His hands-on approach to design combined with his understanding and compassion of traditional crafts as well as the latest technologies renders his pieces relevant and original whilst having the appeal and depth of the handmade.
"There isn't a day that goes by where I don't have a sketchbook to hand. Inspirational moments come without warning and for me they manifest themselves in a visual form. This sketch is an abstract visual of an upcoming project of a spiral staircase. Setting the scene for the sort of thing I'd like to achieve, next to it, to the right, are more technical understandings of how to approach the problem. These will underpin the abstract vision and lay foundations informing how the whole thing will come together."
Alec Doherty, illustrator
Alec specialises in bold character-based illustration, creating clever compositions that combine strong primary colours for clients including Byron Burgers, Whistles and the Guardian. His hand-rendered illustrations are often manifest as objects and installations, from murals and large scale sculptures, to carefully-constructed woodcut figures. He’s even created label designs and pump clips as part of his ongoing partnership with small-batch beer growing company, Partizan Brewers.
"Me and my dog Barbara went down to the south coast over the weekend. We did a bit of walking and sightseeing. I used the sketchbook to draw some other dogs and their owners we saw on our trip going about their business. I rendered these folks using my favourite horadam gouache with a chunky brush and a 4B pencil."
If you're feeling suitably inspired to start cutting, pasting, sketching and painting then peruse our plain paper notebooks and personalise your own here.