My sketchbook is very important to me. I think everyone should have one. Call it your journal or your diary or whatever. But everyone should have something a bit less structured than a planner and bit more structured than a handful of sticky notes.

Lots of cool thoughts go through your head. And itís good to have someplace to write them down. Any type of thoughts: A cool idea for a personalized license plate. The name of a CD you heard on the radio. A quote from the Simpsons that busted you up. An idea for that paper you need to write. A draft of a love letter.

Good stuff goes through your mind all the time. And when you have a place to jot them down, you start paying closer attention to those thoughts.

The key is to just write them down. Donít think about it first. Donít censure yourself before you even get the thought down. . The best advice a writing professor ever gave me was, "don't be afraid to write crap." Edit later. You donít have to share everything you write down. So donít be afraid of sounding stupid.

I think the book itself is important. It has to feel comfortable. I usually go into an art store and pick up and feel the sketchbooks they have available. Do I like the paper? Does it feel good in my hands? Is it sturdy enough to throw in a bag and lug with me wherever I go? I use an 8 Ĺ by 11 hard-bound book with unlined paper. (I like blank pages because it gives me the freedom to sketch something if the mood strikes me.) But get whatever feels right to you. And if nothing feels right? Get a cheap one.

I usually glue a picture of artwork to the coverÖsomething to inspire and shape the *flavor* of the future contents of the book. (Plus it helps me figure out quickly which side is the front.)

Sometimes I rip pictures out of magazines that I likeÖof nature or art or inspiring peopleÖand I glue Ďem to pages in the sketchbook. In the middle, in the back, like hiding treasures for future inspiration. Itís a treat to find, a month later, a black and white photograph of Perry Farrell staring at me --ripped from an old issue of Rolling Stone.

I believe that a sketchbook takes on a personality. Some books just get a streak of magic...and every time pen touches paper, I'm pleased. But sometimes, halfway through, I find that the book isn't pulling creativity from me just doesn't feel right. So I stop and pick up a new book.

In fact. I've *never* filled a sketchbook. I like to know that there is lots of whitespace to fill. If I've got limitless space I don't have to pre-edit. Let it out, there's plenty of room. As soon as I start feeling like I have a finite amount of pages left...switch books.

Nov 15, nineteen98