Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sketchbook Conversations -- A Chat with Lizzie Christian

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Lizzie Christian, an artist based in Minneapolis who focuses mainly on block printing. I'll let Lizzie take it from here in her own words:

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I’ve kept sketchbooks (and written journals) since I was a kid. I always enjoy finding giant books of newsprint in the storage room, filled with charcoal drawings from college figure drawing class. It’s fun to revisit previous themes or mediums and potentially get inspired that way; sometimes I forget all of the subjects I’ve experimented with over the years.

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, block printing, Sketchbook Conversations

I keep sketchbooks because I have many ideas storming around in my head; doodling or sketching visualizes ideas that would maybe otherwise disappear. Sometimes I’m proud of my sketchbook pages and I’m excited to share them. 


Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Other times, the drawings are really embarrassing (I may never be able to draw a profile of a face!) and I keep them to myself. I’m always tempted to rip out the terrible drawings and keep only the “good” pages, but keeping the imperfect work is helpful for keeping track of progress and changes.

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I feel most comfortable as a printmaker (mainly blockprints made with rubber blocks), so some of my sketches end up as carvings, and then prints. 

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Oftentimes, I use my sketchbooks for practice with different media (brush pens, Sharpie, Caran d’Ache Neocolor II wax pastels [my mom’s favorite!], gouache, or soft lead pencils. 

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, painting, Sketchbook Conversations

Recently I’ve checked out library books featuring photography, or women in a fashion context, and I find references like these really helpful for expanding my drawing practice. I struggle with drawing the human figure so photographs are especially useful for this.

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Motivation and inspiration often come from Instagram; seeing others’ hard work pushes me to do the same. I find that I might have a flash of an idea, I need to get started on it right away; if not, the idea either goes away or doesn’t appeal anymore. And usually, these ideas persist so much that I finish a project (such as a carving and print) in one or two evenings. It’s a positive sort of pressure and I always appreciate when it happens! 

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, drawing, block printing, Sketchbook Conversations

For someone starting out sketchbooking, I would recommend just jumping in, and draw what you like. Don’t worry about showing anyone. Even treat it like a journal. I think it should be a fun practice, and pressure-free (even though it’s easy to put pressure on yourself!) It’s rewarding to have a collection of sketchbooks to look back on; it can read like a really interesting and honest personal history.

Lizzie Christian, Rare Press, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Thank you, Lizzie for sharing your sketchbooks and your story with us today.



You can find Lizzie:
on Instagram: @rarepress


*Photos in this post © Elizabeth Christian. Used with permission.

4 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed looking at Lizzie's fun and unique work. I like the suggestion to revisit previous themes or mediums - I don't think I often do that. I would be so proud to have a full sketchbook like the ones shown above. One day I will get my act together and actually USE my books!!!

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    1. Hi, Simone! Glad you enjoyed Lizzie's sketchbook. Her work is so distinctive and such fun!

      I do hope that you'll come to embrace your sketchbooks. They are such fun and an easy, low-pressure way to create (once you get over the initial hesitancy!).

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  2. Thank you for sharing, it brings me joy.

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    1. So glad! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

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