sketchbook ideas - brian mural art work

How to Rock Your Sketchbook


If you’ve been drawing for a while, you know you need fresh inspiration all the time. That’s what helps your art and style evolve. But where can you find new influences?

Interview with Brian Butler about sketchbook

Sketchbook Skool co-founder Danny Gregory recently hung out with the amazing street artist and muralist Brian Butler And here’s what Danny had to say about Brian, his work, and the influence street art can have on your sketchbook art:

I’m a huge fan of street art. I love how giant murals transform neighborhoods with beauty, wit, and joy. Their colors, techniques, and lettering are endless inspiration for my sketchbook pages.

Street artists condense their ideas into powerful graphic messages that speak to everyone walking by. And they erase urban blight, ugly vandalism and barren urban landscapes. What started out in the 1970s as crude graffiti has matured into a highly respected art form, from Banksy to JR to Shepard Fairey.

But how do they do it? How do street artists create those gigantic pieces? How do they come up with their ideas? Believe it or not, it all starts with a sketchbook.

We went in search of answers and found them in downtown Los Angeles, home of loads of monumental works of street art. We met traveling artist Brian Butler, who goes from city to city creating pieces in response to the neighborhoods he visits. He can paint a massive mural in just a few days, and it all starts with designs he creates in his sketchbook.

Brian is also the rock star of drawing rock stars. He’s well known for drawing in his sketchbook directly from the mosh pits of some of the hottest bands around. We got access to a documentary made about Brian’s concert drawings by Nick Zegel that’ll give you a taste of his tremendous talent. 

Hearing Brian’s stories and watching him work was awesome, standing on a busy street corner as he clambered up and down a 30-foot ladder, bringing a world to life. It was something I’ll never forget. 

Now, I don’t plan to make murals myself. My sketchbook is my canvas. But Brian is a creative whirlwind and I learned so much from him.

He fills an entire sketchbook every single month, on road trips and commissions, creating plans for murals and logos, t-shirts, even miniature golf courses. He invents characters, typefaces, and elegant solutions every day.

If you’d like to learn more about what Brian does, and what the inspiration of street art can do for your sketchbook, join Brian this Friday, March 31 at 12 noon ET on our Facebook Skool News page for a live fakulty chat and drawing session. Yes, just like Brian drawing from the mosh pits of concerts, he’ll be live sketching during our Facebook chat, taking requests from you!

2 mins

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