BURNAWAY kicks off our new “Sketchbook” series, in which we’ll provide a peek into artists’ creative processes.
Have you ever looked at an artist’s sketchbook? They can be an intimate look inside the mind of an artist. Sometimes an artist’s final work is clearly laid out in studies, and sometimes the final work looks nothing like what you’ll find in their sketchbook. A sketchbook can serve different functions for an artist; it can be a research tool, a recording device, a diary, an experimental space to create, and more. For a realist painter, their sketchbook might only be for drawing practice. For a sculptor or architect, the sketchbook may serve as a first step for design; to see a three-dimensional object as clearly as they can before they begin more intricate design processes or construction. Certain poets, might use a sketchbook to experiment with how words look and sound together.
Austin Lonsway’s sketchbook is a vessel for experimentation with drawing and the beginning of his process for making prints. Austin is an artist and printmaker from Decatur, Georgia. I met him at the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art where we studied printmaking and book arts together. He recently moved to New Orleans. Austin was always interesting to me because of how soft- spoken he is in contrast with how loud his drawings and prints have a tendency to be. His work is best described as hectic visual overstimulation. Fantastical in a sense, there are always so many things to be looking at all at the same time. With so many identifiable narratives happening all at once, it can be hard to figure out what is going on in his images. That’s what I find most striking about them. His use of flat color and line gives his work a sense of vibration. The overstimulating environments he creates in his silkscreen prints, drawings, and risographs feel endless.
The process of printmaking starts with a key image, which serves as the template of the process of designing and choosing color. It is the layer that holds the most detail and visual information. Take a look at how Austin creates his key image in his sketchbook.