The excellent sketchbooks of level one student Holly Norris
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On receiving the second assignment from OCA student Holly Norris, one of my Printmaking 1 students, I have decided to showcase her sketchbook as an example of outstanding sketchbook practice. Her sketchbook is small, a little larger than A6, a handy pocket sized visual diary, and some of the content shows that it has accompanied her on her travels. Far from being constrained by the formal nature of a sketchbook, Holly has hand bound this little book, and has made the cover and its content her own. Some of the pages have been made using a range of hand made papers, off cuts of pattern paper, normally used for garment construction, and collaged imagery, washed with paint to create a ground for her drawings.
Some of the drawings and vibrant ink paintings in her sketchbook form the basis for the work produced in assignment 1, but a number of her observations are independent of any formal work produced for the course, and as a tutor I get the sense that what this book reveals is her creative thought process, and acts as a record of her engagement with her own visual research.
Holly is using her sketchbook to investigate how combining materials, including crayon, pen, pencil, ink and paint, can express a range of different elements in her compositions. The resulting imagery is lush and engaging, with each page revealing a fresh burst of colour and a new use of the materials at hand.Her use of drawing tools is very expressive, with a real feel of the artists’ joy in simple mark-making. Elements from one page spill onto the next, informing subsequent drawings in unexpected and illuminating ways. Her subject matter ranges from quick and simple still life drawings, to coastal landscapes, industrial and architectural forms, to observations of decorative patterns in ceramic tiles and lace. What struck me when I received her sketchbook was the amount of time and love that has evidently gone into developing her sketchbook. It isn’t simply a notebook, it is an artwork in its own right.The exploratory relationship that Holly has developed with her sketchbook is one which, if maintained, will continue to influence her future work in new and exciting ways.