Inside the Sketchbook of Allison Sommers

by Jane KenoyerPosted on

Allison Sommers has let Hi-Fructose peek inside her sketchbook for our ongoing series Inside the Sketchbook. She is know for her complex compositions and highly detailed gouache images on paper. Animals, human anatomy, and various forms of vegetation are dominating themes within her work. I have asked her to give us some insight about her sketchbook and her creative process.

Have you always kept a sketchbook?
Always. It’s been a constant companion ever since grade school. I can’t imagine life without the ritual, really. 

Why is it important for you to keep a sketchbook?
There are a few major reasons. For one, it’s a holding pen and proving ground for all the ideas I collect. I meet new characters there, work out new concepts, and sharpen my chops. I will also never part with a piece of them, so they’re the only place that is truly mine– finished work may be sold, but I jealously guard the sketchbooks. And, being a place that is only mine and perhaps never shared, I find that the work contained therein is better, more experimental, more brave– if perhaps no one will see it, the stakes aren’t very high. 

Do you often sketch out ideas before working them into finished pieces?
All my finished pieces started somewhere in my sketchbooks– perhaps I haven’t slavishly planned them out, but they’re all born somewhere in the books.

What brand of sketchbook do you use?
Moleskine. I’ve tried all sorts of different brands, and find the binding on the Moleskine stands up to my abuse, and the size is just right. I use the watercolor sketchbooks, I like the paper best. The regular sketchbooks have some rather disturbing yellow hot-press paper in them that I don’t care for. 

What are some good sketchbook tips and habits that you can share with our readers?
Very, very easy: do it, for hours a day. Always. Every day. And have it with you everywhere. It’s your home base, your brain.


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