Monday, January 10, 2011
The Sketchbook Challenge - A Beginning
It's been about a week since I bought Pilgrim, the giant book I decided to alter for The Sketchbook Challenge. I haven't gotten very far in the altering, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I'd like to work on during this year-long challenge--one that I'm thinking of as my own personal pilgrimage.
At first I thought I would gesso or paint over the text in the book and leave only the photos to incorporate into my sketchbook. Then I actually started to read the copy and realized how little I know about Tibet, the place where most of the photographs were shot by Richard Gere. Since the amount of text is pretty minimal, I decided to leave it intact and alter around it. This way, the final sketchbook will actually be two books in one.
Each time I page through this book, I find myself flipping to the list of photographs and comments at the very end of the book. I want to find meaning in the photos. I want to understand them. My next decision was to re-write the comments from the back of the book onto each photo page. You can just barely see where I've done that on the right-hand page in the picture above. I decided to do this for a few reasons. First, I think it will help to integrate the original book with the sketchbook. Second, it will automatically fill up at least half the pages. After all, it's a BIG book!!! Third, I'll be able to work in the sketchbook during those times when my hands want to be busy but my mind wants to rest. (Pretty much every evening after work) I like to have tasks on hand that can be done even when the creative energy isn't flowing freely.
The Sketchbook Challenge theme for January is "highly prized" and I've just barely started sketching to the theme. So many things come to mind--it's hard to choose what to illustrate first. I plan to do more writing on this page about why my hands are important to me. Writing is one area I'd like to work on more this year as part of my pilgrimage.
I've never been a successful journaler because I've always had a problem committing words to paper in any kind of a journal. At first it was a matter of hating how my writing looked. I would almost immediately cover it up with paint or collage. I started to work on that phobia about two years ago in a journal that I called my Rejectamenta journal. It was much easier to write in a journal filled with garbage and to learn to live with it than in a pretty place . That exercise was the first step toward getting comfortable with my own handwriting. After that came the Aussie slang and Good Advice series of postcards that I made and mailed to my daughter at college. It was easy to practice lettering when it became a labor of love for someone special. And that's the key to getting better at anything...practice, practice, practice.
I can happily say that not only am I over my handwriting phobia, I now LOVE LOVE LOVE to play around with lettering. But not with my own words. I love other people's words and thoughts and ideas. That's why I enjoy lettering favorite quotes. So my goal this year will be to fill Pilgrim with my own words along with sketches and doodles. I've kicked my fears to the curb before, so I know I can do it again.
I'll probably add more color and doodles to these pages, but it's a start. Let the pilgrimage begin.