Ideas Books Preview

17th February 2006 · Last updated: 5th October 2016


When I was at art college for a year, we had to keep books of drawings and sketches for ideas. One of the tutors said my ideas books were the best he'd ever seen.

I ended up creating ten such books, as I went on to study graphics for a further three years. I've had the books for over twenty years, and never done anything with them. Until now.

I'm thinking of the best way to digitise them. What do you think? Scanner? Hi-res camera? As a test, I took some sample shots from the ninth book, just to see how much detail I could capture. Alas, with my two-megapixel camera, a lot of fine detail was not captured. Would a six-megapixel or higher camera be a big improvement?

These are only rough test shots for now, but they give a glimpse of what's in a typical ideas book. They mostly consist of lettering ideas, silly drawings, along with cutouts from magazines, packaging examples, articles and work by key illustrators like Ian Pollock I liked to follow back then.

I used a variety of media for my drawings, ranging from coloured pencils to felt pens. The books were a great way to explore ideas, especially for logos and new letter forms.

It can be quite sad looking back at them, since I was never able to use the ideas for anything, being unable to get work in my chosen field, graphic design. If I'd have had the internet back then, perhaps I would have put them online straight away. Instead they've had to wait many years until now - the ninth book dates back to 1985! But better late than never.

The point is that I no longer care about keeping back the ideas for my own use. Sure, I might draw inspiration from one or two pages one day, but it hasn't happened yet. Now I've decided to make the ideas free for anyone to use. That's right - take any idea you see and reuse it anyway you see fit. (This excludes work included from other sources not designed by me.) Just don't do an exact copy of the photographs, or part of them. If you want to do that, I will definitely need to give my permission first, and may require credit and maybe payment. I retain copyright on the photographs. But if you see a logo in them that could be developed, or an idea for a colour scheme, it's all yours to expand on.

Ideas Books and more

Comments (1)

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  1. Lisa:
    I love your sketches, stick with the scans though, they look much nice than the photographs.
    When I was at artschool (the netherlands) we had to do the same thing, but I wasn't as disciplines as you were!
    Just recently I picked one up again, to include notes, recipes, sketches, anything really.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Posted on 27 February 2006 at 9:42 am