The importance of keeping a sketchbook or journal is essential to learning how to document the history of an artists work, and to reveal the planning and thought process involved in the act of creative thinking. Since 1988, I have used dozens of spiral and hardbound sketchbooks.
This is a 3 part composition: background under foreground with a dove on top....
Trying to think outside the box....
I also use collage as a means of practicing composition(see above). The paper pieces can be arranged as needed to maximize a message. I like to chop up old textbooks from the thrift stores. Sometimes the work is humorous, or it might contain a political message. In 1997, I was inspired to start making "collage books." Each book, loosely bound from pages and scraps of various papers usually centered around a theme, and like the sketchbooks had photos, drawing, painting, collage, and found objects added. I also sometimes would make them under a pseudonym. For books on flying I was Ace Pilot, a character name I also used at my job as the weekend family program teacher at the Museum of Flight. I also made a book entirely about scribbling-- Quiggly's Guide to Scribbling. In all I made over 120 titles from 1997 till recently.
Other pages I've used to create drawings in charcoal and ink.
Sketchbooks are a handy way to draw and paint from life. Their portability makes them quite useful. Often a really interesting composition will happen from drawing while waiting for something. I taught myself how to accurately portray the human figure by dropping in on open drawing sessions. Sessions are easy to find in Seattle and for as little as 5 bucks you can paint a naked (or clothed) person in various poses. The sketches above are from a couple of those sessions.
In my twenties I wrote a lot of poetry, which I would sometimes intersperse with art. I also have dozens of journal entries in these books of trips taken abroad.
These are character sketches I did when I was about 17 years old. I think I made them to cheer myself up during rough times. They remind me of my trading card series.