Inside the Sketchbook of Sarah Dyer

Sarah Dyer is a photo book maker and illustrator whose sketchbooks present the foundation of her concepts, compositions and experiments with a mix of dry and once in a while moist media. The webpages of her sketchbooks are a put for understanding, packed with narrative sequences, on the web existence drawings and observational drawing on place. Here, she shares her favourite resources and talks about the way her sketchbook observe is infused with her day-to-day existence as a mom and an artist.



Sarah Dyer normally takes us by her sketchbook practice

I are likely to have several sketchbooks on the go at the same time. I like to get the job done in distinctive sizes and across distinct paper types for distinctive assignments. I check out to maintain my sketchbooks separate for particular subjects – place, life drawing, character style and looser e book concepts and notes. I like to search back by means of them when they have identical content as it is less difficult for me to navigate thoughts or see progression with photo e-book operate, or in the scenario of everyday living drawing with any luck , see an advancement!




I desire applying distinctive sketchbooks for different jobs/drawings since of the papers inside of. I like the low-cost slim Moleskine Cashier publications for my notes, rough image book concepts, and thumbnails. Whilst I appreciate the Royal Talens Art Generation Sketchbooks for general spot drawing or life drawing. They are fantastic worth and get media seriously effectively so I’m not cherished with them which usually qualified prospects to improved operate. They have a tricky back again cover which makes drawing on area less difficult and a sleek off white paper which is my favorite to use. They are my ‘go to’ sketchbook for most matters. The Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbooks have pretty white paper which is useful for photograph reserve perform as the white paper is much easier to scan. I have also been making use of a big Moleskine A3 Sketchbook for everyday living drawing in man or woman. I uncover by nevertheless doing the job in a sketchbook alternatively than unfastened one sheets I sense protected, recognizing that it’s not some valuable final piece and my sketchbook is still incredibly much for enjoy and experiments even if it is all of a sudden 2 times the sizing I commonly work in.



I like to use dry media additional than wet so I have a tendency to use a combine of comfortable pastels, pencils, and brush markers most frequently in my sketchbooks. For on the internet lifetime drawing courses I like the fact I really don’t have to wait around for anything to dry and can complete a quick 5 minute drawing and switch the webpage prepared for the next.




A minimal established of products is especially useful when I’m on the prepare drawing commuters. In the course of the interval just just after the second lockdown when I was back commuting at the time a 7 days to educate at Kingston University, I grew to become really intrigued in drawing the other men and women on the practice. Everyone was in masks and the practice was very silent so it was an quick location to capture life from a genuinely unique time. Drawing on the teach suggests I have not acquired a lot of area – so trying to keep components confined is simple and signifies I can attempt and capture the scene with out getting caught!





When I have much more time or if I’m doing work in my studio I like to increase in other components like inks or watercolours or even very little bits of collage. I like including in levels and texture exactly where achievable in my sketchbooks.




I’m normally drawn to narrative and sequence so I enjoy the sketchbook as a way to investigate this without the need of it becoming a last job. I can make photos and discover composition throughout the website page, site switch and use the gutter while remaining playful and absolutely free.




I refer again to my sketchbooks to see what is effective with products. My sketchbooks are experimental locations, I can make issues and find out from them. I do not rip out web pages – I like to see the progress, it reminds me that I’m often learning. My extra experimental sketchbooks with life drawing, I normally glimpse at to see what mix of products I enjoyed applying, and attempt and use that likely forward in my e-book do the job. Then the sketchbooks I hold for photo ebook function I’m continuously referring back again to mainly because it allows with the subsequent stage of the image reserve progress. From concepts, roughs, thumbnails, storyboard to ultimate pieces.



I scan my thumbnails from my sketchbooks and use them for remaining items with e book get the job done. Since the do the job I do in my sketchbook is freer than on free paper I obtain that I’ll get it right on a more compact scale and then blow that up to work from. It retains the composition how I like it and the strains loose. Enjoy is essential and generally translates into remaining photographs, some of my more substantial A2 boat illustrations ended up born out of the confidence to just play and experiment in my sketchbooks.




My sketchbooks variety the greater part of my practice – they are the issues I use the most and what I go to 1st when starting off any undertaking. They are like a comfort to me, a secure location to check out tips. They are also soothing – drawing on spot or everyday living drawing classes are like meditation for me, a launch of serotonin, I find having time to draw in them is superior for my psychological overall health much too.



It is a good notion to examination lots of sketchbooks to see what you like, supplies behave in a different way in diverse ones, so it’s fantastic to consider a few to see what you desire. I have lots of sketchbooks from College and further than and it provides me joy to appear at them now even if I did not like so much of what I was drawing in there at the time.



I advise taking pleasure in sketchbooks and don’t be precious with them. I often permit my children draw in mine, in truth my youngest who is 3 frequently scribbles all more than a site, but I do not head genuinely – they are great reminders of my get the job done life continuously revolving close to my youngsters.



My most applied elements:

Peg & Axe pencil roll
Brush pens: Tombow and Ecoline
Coloured pencils: Caran D’ache Luminance, Derwent Lightfast and Holbein
Blackwing pencil
Artwork Graf Watersoluble Graphite
Smooth pastels: Unison Color and Jackson’s Handmade Tender Pastels
Neocolor II Aquarelle Crayons
Refillable Brush Pens
Pastel pencils: Faber Castell Pittpastel and Stablio Carbothello



Resources I incorporate in from time to time:

ShinHan Move Watercolour Gouache
Daniel Smith Watercolours
Schmincke Horadam Watercolours
Caran Dache Neopastels
Various inks
Liquitex Acrylic Markers in Parchment and Buff Titanium



About Sarah Dyer

Sarah Dyer is a image e-book maker and illustrator. She enjoys doing work outdoors on place for reference and colour which feeds back again into her e-book get the job done. The flexibility of experimenting and mark marking on place has recently become an critical part of her inventive observe, as viewed in her fishing vessel drawings.

In between creating and illustrating Sarah attends festivals and schools to have out activities and workshops and she has taught up to MA stage. She is at the moment working a person working day a week on the Foundation course at Kingston University.

Go to Sarah’s web-site

Abide by Sarah on Instagram




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Clare McNamara

As Blog Editor, Clare oversees written content for the site, manages the publishing agenda and contributes frequently with characteristics, critiques and interviews. With a qualifications in good arts, her practices are illustration, graphic layout, online video and tunes.