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Lisa Brown's Sketchbooks

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday June 22, 2017

Today DART launches the 2017 Summer Invitational: Pimp Your Sketchbook, in which artists show their personal work and open a window onto their creative process. We begin with Lisa Brown, who lives and works in San Francisco and just can’t stop drawing.

My resolution for 2014 was to jumpstart my art practice. My rules were as follows: post one drawing, in any degree of completion, on my Tumblr page for every single day of the year. (I didn’t need to draw the piece on the day on which I posted, I just had to make sure that there would be one new post for each day.) Above: All my sketchbooks since I began my daily sketches in January, 2014.

This was the only resolution that I have ever in my life followed through with. It’s now June, 2017, and I’m still going strong. It has been transformative, both for my art practice (it turns out that actual practice is extremely helpful, who knew?) and my state of mind. Below left:  Not all sketches are observational. This one was inspired by a poem at a poetry reading. Right: My garden is terrible...


Drawing without the need to fulfill a project, a drawing without a particular solution, allows me to experiment and play. I can be loose and try to capture the energy that frequently appears in preliminary sketches, and is often lost in final. Many of my sketches are drawn from life, something I rarely did before. I sit drawing patrons in cafés, listeners at poetry readings, and people in the airport or the beach. Below: I go to a lot of readings. Many of my sketches are the back of people’s heads.


It can be nerve-racking, both to draw someone surreptitiously, and to post the results publicly. But it’s completely worth it. Above: I love drawing kids because they don’t notice you're staring. Below: My studio is about 50% books.


Lisa Brown
is an illustrator, writer and cartoonist. Her latest picture book, with author Lemony Snicket, is entitled “Goldfish Ghost." She can be found on the internets at www.americanchickens.com, instagram and twitter @lisabrowndraws, and her daily sketch Tumblr at http://americanchickens.tumblr.com. Lisa lives in San Francisco. 


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