For the newest edition of our ongoing series “Inside The Sketchbook,” we travelled to Brooklyn to peer into the sketchbooks of artist Esao Andrews (HF Vol. 22). In stark contrast to his dreamy, fairytale-like paintings filled with long-limbed figures and floating balloons, his sketchbooks are packed with tiny text, snapshots of daily life and a witty sense of humor. Showing a more personal side, this special view into the artist’s sketchbooks provides a refreshing glance at the person behind the gorgeous works we’ve admired for years. Take a look at more images and read our interview below.
Have you always kept a sketchbook?
Ever since I was 19, but there’s lots of gaps in the timeline from then till now.
Do you often sketch out ideas before working them into finished pieces?
I usually do sketches on loose sheets of paper for things I’m going to paint, though a lot of the ideas start as doodles and descriptive notes jotted in my sketchbooks.
How important is it to your finished work to keep a sketchbook?
Not as much now, but these books have been essential for my growth as an artist. Now that I have a little stable of subject matter that I keep returning to, the sketchbook is heavy with my personal life and non-painting ideas.
What mediums do you use to sketch with?
Its been pretty much just microns and markers now. I’ve used pencil, charcoal and paint before and for how much handling a sketchbook goes through, those mediums easily get scuffed.
Do you find that when looking back through old sketchbooks that there is a sense of personal history in them as well?
Absolutely. That’s what they are above anything else. Its like newspaper clippings from my life. I do a lot of writing in them. Most of the tiny writing is just self-analyzing (complaining), accompanied by some observational drawing from my surroundings and decorative filler. When I look back through them I can see where and when certain ideas were spawned and ones that should never see the light of day. So much of it is embarrassing, but everyone has to start from somewhere. Cheers to nostalgia.