Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sue's Sketchbook Peeks - Karen Jinks

As part of my blog-posting for Nottingham Craft Mafia's superb blog I have been running a series of Sketchbooks Peeks with some of the artists and designers in my 'faves' list. This month it's Karen Jinks, artist, illustrator and editor of Uk Handmade. You can find her work here and her blog here... but first of all have a look in her amazing sketchbooks right here...
Before we start, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into your art/craft/design career, how it all started and where you are now…
I’ve always created, ever since I was a small child. My mum would encourage us to draw and make our own cards for family and my gran taught me how to sew and knit so really it’s in my blood! At school I won most of the art competitions and when it came to choosing what to do at university I couldn’t imagine doing anything that wasn’t art related. I actually chose a graphic design course at Norwich School of Art in the end where I got to try a whole variety of art disciplines including animation and photography, finally settling on illustration. Since leaving college I have been working freelance as a commercial artist and selling online for a mind blowing 10 years – just don’t ask me where the time has gone!

How long have you been using sketchbooks?

I’ve only really appreciated the benefit of keeping a sketchbook in the last year or so. Even at college I used to keep notebooks and scrapbooks of sorts but never sketchbooks. I prefer to work straight onto what becomes the finished piece, especially as a lot of my work is collage based and quite organic in nature. I’ve never really felt the need to prepare a piece of work; with collage you can play around with the different elements until you are happy and just stick them down. Lately though I have felt the need to start drawing more and incorporate these drawings into my collages which of course requires a sketchbook. But in doing so I found I am seeing my surroundings in a new way. It’s a slower, more honest process and you need to look closer at your subject and it keeps me away from the computer and camera which I tend to become far too reliant on.

How often do you use your sketchbook?

I have a few sketchbooks on the go, but the 2 main ones are one for my drawings that end up in my digital work and a texture one that is created from the residual transfers I use in my collages. This texture journal is then drawn back over the top of and is a lot more experimental. Both are used fairly regularly as both help to create new work and new work produces new material for my sketchbooks.

Do you have a favourite and why?
Not really, they are all different and are precious in their own way, it would be like asking to choose between my children.

How do you feel with the prospect of starting a new sketchbook with lots of lovely blank pages?
Back in the old days it would have filled me with fear but now I rush to finish a book just so I can start a new fresh one. I make my own sketchbooks now so I have already made it with a purpose in mind and can’t wait to get started!
When and where do you get your sketchbook inspiration?
We moved house a couple of years ago which has a well established garden full of flowers so I draw a lot from there now, before I used to have to buy flowers. We also live near beautiful woods and chalk downs where I take lots of photos that inspire drawings. I also read a lot of poetry and literature which inspires my collage work – creating a mood or evoking a memory can be quite a challenge. I like my work to imply a story that isn’t always immediately obvious and my sketchbooks have become a good place to test out techniques and colours.

How would you describe your sketchbook process?

I’m not sure I have a process, I tend to work quite quickly and don’t give myself too much time to think or I will end up ripping out pages because it’s all gone wrong. I have learned to live with mistakes or work over them. Sketchbooks that are pristine can be boring. Well mine are anyway. So I have learned not to be precious about what goes in them anymore and weirdly the results are a lot more satisfactory.

What is your favourite medium to work with?

Matte gel medium. My life change when I discovered the stuff. Seriously. And paper. And glue. And acrylic paint. And black ink. It’s all about texture and layers and not being able to close my sketchbook because the pages are too thick.

Where is your ideal sketching location?

At my desk. With my music on. I can’t work outside for some reason, I prefer to shut myself away in my little studio and use photos I’ve taken.

How have your sketchbooks evolved over the years?

I can actually finish one! I still have all my books from college and apart from the scrapbooks I mentioned they are all empty. There might be a few doodles and ideas just to appease tutors in the first few pages and that will be it. They were something I dreaded having to open. Now mine are permanently open and a joy to use.

If you had to pick one favourite sketchbook page which would it be and why?
This is a tricky one because my mood changes so often. But I suppose at the moment I like the butterfly page in my texture journal. No real reason, it just suits me now
Thankyou Karen!!

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