Monday, February 27, 2012

Cynthia Iannaccone: I Often Revisit Sketchbooks

From a very young age, my father taught me to draw from observation.  Through the years, I kept many sketchbooks filled with drawings of family and pets.  Posing for hours, my sister was one of my best models.

Much later, I decided to become an art teacher.  I encouraged my students to keep a sketch-journal of ideas and thoughts.  Very often, these become valuable sources of inspirational material to work from.

I often revisit sketchbooks from years ago and discover something about myself in them that inspires me to develop an idea further into a painting, a story, or sometimes a poem.

My notebook pages displayed here are from classes and workshops in the not-too-distant past.  I've always enjoyed doodling in between notes....  When I draw, for some reason, it helps me listen and understand the instructor better.  I never really pay attention to what I'm drawing.  It's just relaxing.  My favorite type of language evokes a picture that I can see with my mind.

Here is something that you might like to try.  Draw an animal.  (You may choose to look at a picture to help you.)  Begin with one line using a large black marker, just drawing the basic shape.  After you finish the large outline, take your pencils or a thinner black marker and draw all kinds of repeating lines: straight, curvy, jagged, broken...repeating lines inside the animal shape.  You need not fill in the entire animal; feel free to leave white or blank spaces.  Once you're finished, you can color them with marker or not, however you wish!  Such an exercise might even become part of your regular drawing or sketching.

Here are a few samples drawn by my students.  I love their work!

Fine Artist Cynthia Iannaconne holds a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and an MA from Marywood University in Scranton, PA.  She has been a member of SCBWI, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, since 1997. You can visit Cynthia's illustration website and portfolio of energetic sketchbook drawings at Cynthia Illustrates.


  1. I don't have as many sketches, but I have lots of notebooks through my years as a teacher that I love to return to. I love seeing your doodles and your sketches as you take notes. It must help to return to those ideas and add to them from the place where you are thinking now. Thanks!

  2. Most excellent. Really enjoyed how drawing while listening to the instructor helped her focus even more. Thanks!


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