Artist's Image Sourcebook: A Practical Tool for Creators | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Artist's Image Sourcebook: A Practical Tool for Creators

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Skillshare Class Intro

    • 2. How I Use My Sourcebook

    • 3. Class Supplies

    • 4. Assembling the Sourcebook

    • 5. Filling the Sourcebook

    • 6. Class Wrap Up, Tips, & A Challenge

    • 7. Bonus Class

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About This Class

Create an artist’s reference tool to record sketches, explore ideas, and jot down notes in this Artist's Image Sourcebook Class. Similar to an art journal, this Sourcebook is full of personal images. But, it differs from a standard art journal, as it is full of rough drafts, sketches, and intuitive ideas to be used at a later time. 

The Image Sourcebook is a stepping stone to creating more in depth illustrations int two ways:

  1. by going through the process of creating an array of sketches
  2. having a sourcebook of hand drawn sketches to reference at other times.

By creating the initial sketches, the artists creates unique work and then builds on them to work through ideas, revise illustrations, and explore concepts.

The Artist's Image Sourcebook is a made from and uses inexpensive, but effective supplies. To this end, there is no pressure to create perfect or exact images. Instead, artists create a personal library of concepts, ideas, and images. 

Topics covered in class include:

  • Creating a Sourcebook using low cost materials,
  • Filling your sourcebook with both intuitive and intentional images.
  • Delving further into a specific idea
  • Creating quick sketches as a daily exercise

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is a opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as a educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

I upload art classes every Friday, here on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website or my YouTube Channel for additional c... See full profile

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1. Skillshare Class Intro: Hello, I'm Daniella Melon and author and artist. Thank you for joining me for today's class on creating and using an artist's image sourcebook In today's class, I'll show you a reference tool that I make and use for my artwork. I created, like a journal, so it's personal to me and the images that I use in my work. But it's also an instrument for me to jot down specific visual notes. In essence, it's a journal of rough draft images that I use in my artwork. I'll take you through the quick process of creating this sourcebook. We'll start with an inexpensive sketch pad, do simple things to brighten it up and reinforce it. And then I'll show you how I feel and use it. Any artist or creator will benefit from using their own illustrations as the basis of their work in today's class. I'll show you how I organize my own image sourcebook and hope it gives you some ideas on creating your own. Please follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes. Please consider leaving a review and thanks for watching. Now let's get started 2. How I Use My Sourcebook: I use my artist image sourcebook as a series of drafts of my images that I keep in sketch pads and my collection is growing. It differs from an art journal and that my intention is to create nothing but sketches or rough drafts of images. By doing this, there is no pressure to get it perfect or exact. I try and record the idea or suggestion of an image to study further for specific illustration or a job, and to this end, where their goal is not the results but the process of obtaining a more precise result in the future. I use inexpensive supplies. I spent only a few minutes creating the illustrations, and I use either a single color or just a few colors to capture the idea or thought that I'll develop further at another time. I use my source book in two ways. The first is for quick sketches of an object. For example, I create illustrated recipes. In order to draw them, I will use images of cooking tools, packaging, ingredients, utensils and so on. I keep a source book on food sketches. I also keep one on food related sketches, and this would include things like utensils, bowls, pans, measuring cups, etcetera. The second way I use my source book is to delve of just a little deeper into a sketch, and by doing this all include a larger and slightly more detailed sketch. I might even include some notes that I find interesting about that specific subject. For example, here I was a little more focused on this sketch of an avocado, so I drew a larger image, and I jotted some things that I found intriguing that I might use with a future illustration, and I might not. But when I was studying the avocado, I found at some point it was called an alligator pear. I found that to be something I might find useful. At another time. It spoke to me. It's fun, visual and interesting. 3. Class Supplies: here the supplies that will use to create our artists image sourcebook again. It's an artist tool, so really, it's for the artist. It's not so much as a bragging tool or one to showcase, although you're more than welcome to show it to other people. It's just a very valuable tool that I have found to keep my images together organized inaccessible for me. So to start with, I use when I'm gonna be filling the journal. I use just a fine liner that I buy them by the box. I get, like, a dozen in here, and I go through them very quickly. They produce a wet, fine line. It bleeds through the paper somewhat, but I don't want the heaviness of a ballpoint pen. So this seems to be a good compromise for me. I have a very inexpensive set of mechanical pencils in colors, and it's made by a reputable company. I buy them again on Amazon, and I'm looking for a set of mechanical pencils because this way I don't have to sharpen them. I could just, you know, ADM. Or lead is needed. It produces a decent quality pigment, but again I'm making a reference tool, so I just need the hint of color. The suggestion. This comes with 36 uh, different shades. I think this might be a little excessive, but I love it when I use it. I empty it out of its container, and I just put them all on the desk. So it's like a rainbow before me. You only a pair of scissors to help cut the paper Here. We just have a cutting board to make nice straight lines. The meat of our paper of our journal are these sketch pads. They're very inexpensive. I buy them for a dollar each. You could buy them at the dollar store. Even they are are nine by 12. This is just sketch pad and comes an actual white paper fairly, fairly substantial. You could buy a doodle pad, which is 60 sheets. The color is a little off white. It's a little less store a ble, but it's still very effective, and I used these quite a bit, and lastly, here I have a drawing pad. It's a little more heavyweight. It's only 30 sheets, but it's It's a nice, very quality paper, so we'll use thes. I have a ton of them. I have over a dozen. I am constantly adding to my collection to make the journals a little nicer just for myself . I like to cover the top the cover so I can use nine. Um, this is 12 by 12 paper because it fits the nine by 12 cover. And you know this comes in great patterns and colors. You can use it to match the theme, if that's your thing. But I want to use this very adorable gift bag, and what I do is I take it apart and I'll use the paper because it's somewhat more adorable than just paper. It has, like a little plastic coating on top, and I believe this is 12 by 17 which is the perfect size for covering those 12 by those nine by 12 pads. I also use some double sided tape to adhere the paper to the cover. I use, um, masking tape to reinforce the pages inside the book, and then I use this gaffer's tape, um, or bookbinding tape for the spine. It reinforces the spine it because it's gaffer's tape. It's removable, stretchy and fabric. Just it's not tacky, except where you want it to be to adhere it to the paper. You could also use book tape, and it comes in colors and this one's clear. This is another fine example of what you can use for the spine. The next chapter will go over creating the external part of our journal. 4. Assembling the Sourcebook: to print my bag to be the cover first thing I want to do is remove any of these excess parts. So this little hanging tag, I'll just tear that off. And I'm just trying not to tear the front of the paper again. It's a little more adorable than most. Also, remove any of these handles. I can either cut them off. He's just slide right out. If you bend them, swelled you that. And because I need them to be the finished bag, the piece of paper that I need to be a nine by 12. I have a lot of give on this bag, considering it's 12 by 17. So now the bag folds to, so it opens up to be larger. So what I'm gonna do is cut off these parts. Start by cutting off the base here, and this is where the fold of the bag is. So I'm gonna full this bag just down here, so I get most use of the paper and then I just wanna trim it straight on the base here, right after that fold. Take this out. My sisters will just cut off here in this piece. Then I could make a nicer trim and edge. And then I want to trim the sides as well because it doesn't fit in my term. Earl. Just trim a good portion of it and then snippet with my scissors and then I'll just follow it through here. And right now, while I'm trying to do is get a nice, solid piece of paper to work with. Here's the fold the gusset through the same thing over here, and I'll start the face, the thinner part and again, just trim up here. So now I'm left with two pieces of paper and another gusset. Remove the gusset since I don't need that and then here I have a double layer, so I'll just very carefully remove that layer that folds. And here it's reinforced with some cardboard. So again, I wouldn't want to take that off, do the same thing here on the side, and I'll just take a little bit of this cardboard layer off. I am gonna cut the top piece off, so I'm not terribly worried about that. I'll do the same thing with this piece when I need it. So now I just slice the top of this off again, trying to get a nice rectangular image to use. And now I can start to cut it down to size. So now we need to cut this piece to my nine by 12. So and there I have my paper that fits very nicely, right on top of my pad again, This is just for aesthetics, for to make me feel good about my tools. And now I will attach it to the cover with my double sided tape and I'll reinforce the spine with the gaffer's tape. I have another book. I've already cut this. This is just decorative scrapbook paper and the theme of my journal here. My source book is just Christmas images. So I just took a pig's of Christmas paper and cut it down to size from here will do the same procedure attaching them, and I'll do this and speed it up so you can see the process. So there you see, I have a little overhang with the paper because I didn't do it precisely. I can either just flip this over and use my scissors and trim it, or I could use an Exacto knife. I'm just gonna trim it very carefully and down the side as well. And then I'm gonna take my gaffer's tape and reinforce the spine. So to do that, I just pick up a little of the tape and I'm trying to eyeball it just to get it down, clearly straight, put it over, put it down, and then just burnish it. I can put a little label if I want. And then I have my source book and I do this for all different types. I'll complete this one here is well and add my labels and then we'll come back and discuss filling our sourcebooks. 5. Filling the Sourcebook: There are two ways that I feel my source books. The first is obvious when I have a specific job or goal, say, to draw bananas, I'll make some quick sketches of that particular image from different views. I'll sketch them in different colors and orientations and outlined them using my fine line marker. I don't spend too much time on one sketch when I feel I've had enough, and this can be after three sketches or 23 sketches, I'll go back and make a slightly more detailed image. - I'll add a few more colors and again outline it with marker. I may also jot down a few notes as well. The second way that I feel my source book is to spend a few moments when I have time or if I designate that time is my warm up for the day. And I just sketch a variety of things that intrigued me that day. It may be lots of the same image or one image may lead to another image, but there is nothing pressing about sketching these images. It's purely intuitive, so I add to my source books and fill them in ways that are quick and easy. My sketches aren't perfect, but they're helpful. And my intention is to get ideas down on paper that I can explore further and refer back to when I need them. 6. Class Wrap Up, Tips, & A Challenge: thank you for joining me for creating an artist image sketchbook. I hope you find this method of creating sketches to be a stepping stone in making more detailed illustrations. I wanted to include six bonus steps and a challenge for you. The 1st 1 I suggest using low cost supplies to create your source books. This way you feel less pressure to be exact, and you could make multiple sourcebooks with very little monetary investment. The value will be in your sketches to I prefer to use mechanical pencils because they don't need to be sharpened. This means they won't come to a point, and that's fine. It's actually very good for this use because it won't scratch the paper and affect the pages underneath. And likewise, use a very light touch with your fine line marker as well. Three. Since the source books get a lot of use, don't hesitate to reinforce the pages with masking tape. Just to hear a couple of pieces to the top of the page is to connect the pages. It really makes a difference, for if you want to remove a page, do so. But I would suggest keeping all your images even the bad ones. You may return to the page one day and find inspiration from that sketch. Five. After you filled your book, be sure to keep it and refer back to it. Keep a designated spot for your homemade references so you'll always know where to find them. Lastly, fill the pages with sketches of images and things you were drawn to. You can start a sketch, lose interest in stop and return to it one day, just like keeping your mistakes. You may find inspiration from a parcel sketch, and lastly, I have a challenge for you. Create a series of sketches on any topic of interest. Then use those sketches to create a more detailed piece of artwork. Be sure to take a photo of your source book or your sketch that you turn into a piece of art and posted in the project section. Be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes. Please consider leaving your review and thank you for taking the time to join me today 7. Bonus Class: And here's a peek inside my source books. These two I have covered with a gift bag that I cut down to size, just like a demonstrated in class. And what I did here on the food related one is I just sketched some food items. Here's a bunch of salad ingredients and so on. And then I started and I sketch the salad bowl, and I wanted to go into further detail with that. But it's more vegetables. Then I did garlic, and I did more of an in depth study with the garlic. Just cause there's so many options I have that I could work with here, adding purples, doing cloves, doing the whole head from the bottom cross section to the same thing with Ginger. And here's the avocados from class did some eggs and tomato, and just so on, I continued here with the corn. I used some familiar corn words maze, ear of corn kernels, stock husk what not and then with olives. I just sketching some olives for eating in a salad. And then I came to olive oil, and then I feel out of olives in the martini, bananas from class. Some other fruits, a more in depth study and somehow Pinos. And then I just recorded a school bills he'd scale because I think I'm gonna use this in my work. Some tequila bottles, some more than some have a narrows, continued with the tequila theme. And really, anything goes for the food related. This was really kind of industrial. I did my packaging just in simple gray pencil. Here he did some different things. I added color when I wanted, and when I didn't, I just went with the pencil. I could come back to it and add some color or more death at some point. But for now, this is what's really working for me. Some knives and cutting boards, utensils, further utensils, oven mitts, cutting boards. These are all things that I find very helpful in my work for the miscellaneous. This is kind of just my catch book. I have some daisies, some mittens, some winter hats, stockings, some words, some more Christmas images and just some quick sketches, and I continue this with more. Throughout the book, I also wanted to include one that was just really generic, but just in terms of basically doodles and so this is patterns for lines or for making borders or banners. Here are some frames that I can modify the size and the shape according to if I want to jot something down. Did some banners, different ways to include the date in my pieces, and it's more frames, envelopes, wreaths and more little lines, but little short, just little clips. Then I took some Christmas paper here, and this is where he included some of my various Christmas sketches, and I started out with snowmen, gingerbread men, some Christmas characters. And then I went just played around with trees, some greenery, different versions of hats, some raw sketches of angels and some Christmas bobbles. So this is a good way to get an idea of what to sketch or anything, really, And I would continue to add to my groups as well as have some more groups that are full of text of either various words that were either inspiring or harsh or beautiful, and I included them there