Wayne Thompson of Australian Type Foundry recently led a Type by Hand workshop at Shillington Sydney. He brought in an array of his sketchbooks, which show incredible insights into his creative process. We were blown away by his wide variety of ideas and how he fleshes out concepts page-by-page.
Today on the blog—creatives rejoice—Wayne joins us as a guest author! Enjoy these seven sketchbook tips from one of Australia’s type experts.
1. Avoid blank-page syndrome. I keep a list of inspirational phrases, funny words, names etc in the back of your sketchbook. Time to do sketching free-play is increasingly rare, so when it comes you won’t have to waste time thinking of something important to say.
2. Have something worthwhile to say. I personally try to be more original than the common-place inspirational quotes such as “Do what you love”, even though they have their place. It’s different for everybody, but I try to inject a sense of humour into my work where possible.
3. Don’t be precious about your pages. We all want perfect sketchbooks that people will go ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over. But you have to make messy mistakes somewhere. I use non-precious paper to practice, so I don’t feel bad about making mistakes. Scrawl over the op of newspaper, old magazines, or use butcher’s paper or the backs of laser prints. I once spent $7 on a reel-end from a local newspaper (the last 30m of newsprint that they don’t use on the big presses). I covered the entire 30 metres of paper in blackletter and brush pen practice, then recycled the lot.
4. Don’t be afraid to develop a style. It’s easy to develop letter-envy of other people’s work and not value your own style enough. I often look at my own stuff and hate it, but it takes a long time to learn that other people don’t see it the same way.
5. Be patient. It takes a long time, a bloody long time. Just keep doing and doing and doing it.
Frustration and impatience should be accepted as a normal part of the process.
If you can play a musical instrument, you’ll understand this.
6. Find rhythm within your word. The letter shapes themselves are actually LESS important than the space inside and around your letters. Reading is all about rhythm! The spaces should be consistent in size and if you can achieve spacing rhythm, you’re halfway there.
7. Don’t let people tell you to keep a tidy workstation. Mine is a mess, and constantly in a state of flux as I move through projects. But I know where everything is, and that’s all that matters. It does annoy me sometimes, but not enough to want to tidy it up.
Huge thanks to Wayne for sharing his top tips. What are you waiting for? Get sketchin’!