I just spent the last 4 hours pouring over my old sketchbooks. I save them as I guess most artists do, forever. I can't imagine throwing one out. In revisiting them I noticed that there is no rhyme or reason to how I sketch in a sketchbook. I tend to open it, look for a blank page, then draw. This is a pain as I go back through them looking for a particular sketch. Organization is not one of my strong suits. However, tonight was different. I post-it noted pages, I wrote on the post-its so that I could see what I had marked, and then when I was all done I categorized the items I liked and thought had potential. Then in my attempt to really out do myself, I made a big fat chart. A flow chart type of dealio. Well more like a site map really. But none the less a handy visual aid of all the items I liked, or wanted to work on. (See my crappy picture of the chart.)
What was the point of all this besides the exercise of organizing and daydreaming of new pictures to be made? The goal is this. I want to really expand my portfolio for licensing options and want to do it in a strategic manner. I know that in my sketchbooks are many fun ideas that singularly are just a fun idea, but together have real power. Going through my sketchbooks provided me an opportunity to revisit work that was never fully fleshed out, but with the right attention could be something worthwhile. Taking the time to organize the work by category will help me to analyze the depth and breadth of my artistic interests. I found that yes I do truly love to draw food, and no I do not love to draw nature. Do I feel compelled to work on that, no not really. But it does show me that I need to focus on promoting what I am deep in. And if I am so inclined it also shows me what areas I can add to and really expand my offerings.
The lesson to this is that old sketchbooks are invaluable. Not only are they historical references of our lives, and what we see and think, but they are chock full of potential. Not unlike ourselves.