Inspiration can be fleeting. Your sketchbook is the net to capture elusive ideas as they flutter by.
Size: Small enough to be able to carry around with you. Large enough to write and draw in, and occasionally paste a tear sheet or interesting object.
Cost: Cheaper is better. You don’t want to be afraid to “waste” pages. You can even bind together some used copier paper and write on the blank side. I like to use a pad of graph paper. If you’d rather have a beautiful and expensive sketchbook and will actually use it, go for it.
Depending on your art form, you will use your sketchbook in different ways. Surprisingly, many visual artists write a lot of words in theirs, and many writers draw pictures. You may enjoy using color, or a brush, or nothing more than a pencil. However, don’t let the medium be an obstacle to getting your ideas down.
You don’t ever have to show your sketchbook to anyone, so don’t be self-conscious about what’s in it. If someone insists on seeing your book, and you don’t want to show it, tell them I said you don’t have to.
The sketchbook is a receptacle for unedited ideas. Many or most of these will go nowhere. Some will ferment for years before coming to fruition. When using your sketchbook for the generation phase of the creative process, they will be on the fast track. Won’t it be fantastic when a current project has the seed of an idea already planted in your sketchbook from long ago?
Keep a sketchbook by your bedside to record dreams, and ideas that come in the twilight of consciousness just before sleep and just before waking up.
The act of recording something in itself gives the idea staying power. It has been traced into the neurons of you brain and will be there for longer than if you hadn’t written it down.