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Out of curiosity, do any of my fellow AFOL's keep a specific chunk of Lego off to the side to be used as sketch models?
In terms of my element collection, its still quite small by other Afol's collections, and a number of months ago I purchased the Architect Studio set. Along with the elements that came in the kit, I threw in all my white and clear pieces that I currently own in with it, housed in a Swoop bag. Because My element count will be growing, I would want to purchace my pieces with a goal in mind instead randomly acquiring elements just for the sake of it. So, essentially my white elements with the Studio kit has become a "sketch" kit so I can play with ideas, concepts, techniques etc without the distraction of color and really hone in on the details and form.
Now that the wife and I recently purchased a home, and with the wifes support, the lego collection will grow with a dedicated storage and building area in the basement/ wreckroom in process/ mancave or nerdcave if you prefer.
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In my case, I use 4 Akro-mils cabinets. For the longest time, I had kept the white brick separate for sketching. I have since decided that is easiest to combine all of my elements independent of color, for everything except the most common brick and plate. This seems like a good balance - I can explore the primary massing of a new design using white brick and plate, and use whichever color I want for the finer details. (It's easy for me to ignore mismatched colors when sketching.)
Most importantly, do what works best for you - whatever unblocks your creativity so you can build without thinking too much about searching for the right part or the right color.