I carry sketchbooks, pencils, pens, watercolor kits everywhere. I use them daily. I have hundreds of drawings to deal with each year. Most are in sketchbooks using traditional drawing tools (pencils, paints, collage, charcoal, conte, etc.) or as digital files. I prefer to draw digitally with vector tools, a wacom tablet, and occasionaly on an iPadPro. I have been drawing pretty much my whole life. My first awards and recognition began in competitions at age 5, beating out all the older kids in the category and moving to bigger competitions. As a teen, winning national drawing competitions helped fund my way to college. My high school portfolio won me recognition and a cash prize from Eugene Thaw.
In college, multiple sketchbooks/notebooks were required and reviewed in classes. Course requirements encouraged or expected sketchbooks and notebooks for every idea and iteration, training the eye, the mind, and the hand for a lifetime of practice capturing the everyday and thinking on paper.
Sketch styles vary but the overall respond to the tone, message, and tools used to create the images. I don’t think any one style can fit every story or assignment, so I work in a style that will best suit the subject matter, the context, or mood of whatever it is I’m illustrating, always aware of the page or project's overall aesthetic.
Shut up and contour! This was on a hand-drawn sign taped above my 7th grade art teacher's desk. I can still hear that poster commanding me to get after it. Those early days were spent drawing the classroom plants with charcoal on newsprint. Everyone was quiet, eyes trained on the plant as our hands traced its outline to the paper. There was a lot to master with our contour lines.
When I was 9, I worked hard to memorize passages to earn merit badges. One still stands out: Youth is the springtime of life, and habits formed in youth, like seed sown in the ground, will bear fruit, for good or ill, through all years of life. The words felt awkward and abstract as a kid, but as an adult, I understand and have kept my habits of drawing, writing, and creating. I fill bookshelves with my sketchbooks and notes.