Josh Keyes has opened up his sketchbooks to let us have a rare peek inside. He is a phenomenal artist that works out of his studio located in Portland, Oregon. He was featured on the cover of Hi-Fructose Volume 12 as well as inside Volume 5. His eco-surrealistic paintings evoke powerful emotional responses making one contemplate the Earth’s wellbeing and the effects that humanity has on it’s fragile ecosystems and the animals that dwell within them. What’s most fascinating about Keyes’ sketches is the unique opportunity to follow his methods of logic and the way that he approaches his paintings.
Do you often sketch out ideas before working them into finished pieces?
I do, but sometimes not a finished drawing, there are many paintings that evolve from a single word, or scribbles. It is often during the process of painting, that I create more detailed sketches and drawings related to the composition and architecture of the image.
What are some good sketchbook tips and habits that you can share with our readers?
I think finding a book and size you enjoy, and feel comfortable using. Sometimes the big books can be a little intimidating, feeling you have to fill up every page like Leonardo. Keeping it in a place where you tend to drift off into daydreams, the computer, tv, or by your bed. Do away with rules or expectations, no one ever has to see this, this is a free space for anything and everything to happen. So don’t be concerned with doing a “good” drawing, just get your thoughts, emotions, and image out. It could even be a book of collages or materials. I suggest you think of the experience like taking a walk along a white sandy beach, with mind clear see what washes up on the shore and make note of it. Last, find a pen or pencil or other drawing tool that feels good. If you haven’t had much experience with drawing materials, go to your local art supply store and buy a selection of things to try out. I tend to use mechanical pencils, they give me a consistent line for drawing and writing. Open play, and explore, and leave the rules at the door.