Old ’90s Sketchbook/Scrapbook of Trent Reznor

OMG… I found my old high school/art school (for the one term I went)/university sketchbook full of drawings of Trent Reznor, 😂…

That’s just a few pics from inside. It’s a 200 page sketchbook and it’s chock full of this sorta thing, even the inside covers, lol.

Apparently I didn’t throw it in the trash with a bunch of other high school shit some years back.

I’m half-giddy, half-mortified (and occasionally impressed, some of those drawings are damn good and I was playing with all sorts of mediums… albeit that includes some like oil paint sticks that really don’t belong inside a sketchbook, lol…)

No exact dates except I remember working on this in Grade 12 (95-96), and there’s one solitary date of November 21, 1996 written about 2/3 in (so when I was at Emily Carr that one term of Foundation before I bailed), and there’s a “USED” sticker in there of the sort that could have only come from the UBC bookstore after I started going there in in January of 1997.

Super cringey, but hey, that’s where I was at back then… and still am to some extent (eyeballs the Bono Mouse sketchbook, which will eventually look just as full except I am not chopping up all the U2 magazines I’ve acquired for my memorabilia collection to cut and paste bits into a damn sketchbook. Drawings only.)

And the funny thing is these days I hardly ever listen to Nine Inch Nails and really can’t stand Trent either. LOL…

Well… since I mentioned the Bono Mouse sketchbook… did I ever really give a full explanation? I don’t remember, so let’s slap one in here since it does kinda tie in with this old Trent sketchbook.

It started in February when, even though I draw Noah 3-4 hrs a night and had been doing so for 6 months at that point, I felt like I wasn’t drawing at all because apparently my brain is a ditz and thinks digital work in Procreate doesn’t count.

I remembered this Trent sketchbook as an example of a time when I drew all the time, and I’m in U2 fan groups so there’s a steady stream of a certain Irishman in my feed, from all different eras but especially from those glorious early 90s days of tight black leather pants.

Problem, meet solution… except it felt dumb and juvenile, so I didn’t start until I thought I could somehow lean into the dumb and juvenile thing and hit on the idea of drawing Bono as a mouse-man obsessed with cheese in an all-consuming, almost sexual kinda way, lol.

Case in point.

And that was a dumb enough idea to make it worthwhile… 🤣

…and thus I draw a Bono Mouse almost every day and post the best of the week’s sketches here every Saturday in my life update blog post.

And it did have the desired effect: I am drawing a lot more and doing more IRL art. I’ve mentioned before that it lead to the creation of a new character, Ricky B. Rat, and it got me pushing my chops again which has led to more figure drawing, more observational drawing (usually garden stuff, but still), and in a way got me into a mindset to look at more hands-on techniques which prompted me to get back into printmaking more seriously/regularly after dipping my toe into the world of monotypes last summer and before the the occasional but rare lino cut.

Plus, Bono Mouse is simply hilarious to me… and that in itself is a big leap forward from the Trent sketchbook, which I seem to remember taking very seriously, albeit not so much in an artsy kinda seriousness but more in a crazy fangirl kinda seriousness. Like, there’s no way in Hell I would have made a flippant an irreverent sketchbook or drawing in those days, at least not of Reznor or Marilyn Manson, etc.

I assure you there was zero chance of me drawing my high school idols like this.

And I took myself way too seriously back then, too, though I never would have admitted that.

I also don’t remember what the motivation for starting the Trent book was, other than I guess I drew him a bunch in my other sketchbooks and I’ve always had a drive to organize sketchbooks by themes, though in high school of course my sketchbooks were polluted by things like homework and notes from classes.

When I say sketchbooks by theme, I’m not kidding. Here’s a list of my current sketchbooks:

  • Bono Mouse
  • Pink sketchbook that started as a daily art journal book and quickly morphed to the book where I keep notes from my printmaking workshops
  • Ricky B. Rat cartoons
  • Noah’s Archipelago scripts and thumbnails
  • Brainstorming/stream of consciousness sketchbook that morphed into a figure drawing sketchbook
  • Rock stars who aren’t Bono sketchbook (just started and so far just has a spread of Simon Le Bon and a page of Robert Smith)
  • Hands and feet drawing practise book
  • Observational drawing book
  • A new brainstorming/stream of consciousness sketchbook
  • An old art journal turned observational drawing book (mostly shoes and purses) that also has notes from art classes/workshops
  • The Nick White Show storyboards
  • An old 1/3 full “painting ideas” sketchbook that I’ve started using again for painting plans
  • An “art career planning” sketchbook that mostly just has written notes in it

I’m probably forgetting a few. Bold = ones I use almost every day.

Well, I guess some of mine are still polluted by irrelevant stuff, lol… but you get the drift. There’s always the push/pull between “split things into different books by theme” and “just have one damn sketchbook and use it for everything” but meh, I find it makes the most sense to me to do it by theme.

Besides, there’s something much more satisfying about looking at a sketchbook and it’s all about one idea or one type of work. The Trent book was hilarious and absurd to look through, but it also had its charm, and the few spots where something else crept in like a reminder to do a given assignment or notes about some dude I was meeting for coffee were kinda jarring.