Mr. Scheinberger on Illustration and Sketchbooks

This week I attended a short lecture on illustration and sketchbooks presented by Felix Scheinberger. His recent book dealing with this topic “Mut zum Skizzenbuch” is nominated for the Binder Award & the Graf Ludo Award.

I was fairly lucky to be able to get some firsthand tips ­čÖé

Of course I want to share with you the most important points!

  • You should start drawing for yourself and nobody else but you! Trust your own skills and preferences. Don’t try to satisfy someone else, be it your teacher, your friends or some rigid fashion. You need to let your own style bloom and that’s only possible if you embrace it! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept any criticism nor does it mean you should ignore basic drawing rules like perspective and proportions. You need to learn the basics but you shouldn’t wait to develop your style until you’re a pro in “conventional” drawing. You have to start now! Following your very own preferences will show better results than trying to draw the way people want you to.
  • Go outside and explore the world with your own eyes (and sketchbook)! Don’t always rely on Google for reference images. It’s very easy to just type in what you are looking for, but the results you get are very limited and sorted out. Besides that, if everyone relies solely on the internet for reference someday everyone will be drawing fairly the same dogs, the same cars and the same landscapes! You need to see the world through your own eyes in order to create your own style!
  • Start drawing everything you desire in your very personal sketchbook meant only for your eyes! Don’t show it anyone. It’s supposed to be as intimate as a diary. It’s meant to be a place where you can create whatever YOU want.
  • Try to find all facets of a subject. When going to Athena, for example, don’t simply draw the Acropolis only because it’s the first thing people connect with the city. Exactly because of this fact you should try to find Athena’s other faces. Always strive for new points of view!
  • Over time the purpose of illustration has changed. A century ago illustrators were needed to depict subjects as accurate as possible. They were sort of a human photo camera. Their job was to show people the world as it was. Nowadays everyone has got a camera and obviously its way easier to quickly take a picture than to illustrate it…And still illustrators are still needed! But what can an illustration do a photo can’t? The answer is it can reduce, it can concentrate on a certain subject/part of the image and alter reality. It reproduces something through the inner eye of an artist. The viewer in a way takes a look in the illustrator’s soul and this connection makes drawings so special. I think we can agree that it’s by far more interesting to look at drawings than photos.

Well that’s basically what Mr. Scheinberger told us. Please bear in mind that this is his opinion and he doesn’t expect anyone to fully agree or disagree with him! It’s a free world ­čśë