France Trip Sketchbook, 2007
The sketches below are from a class trip I took to France in 2007, in my sophomore year of college. We basically frolicked (the other students walked) around museums Paris and the surrounding areas with be best guides you could possibly have, art history teachers. Hell yes. The only assignment for the class was to keep a sketchbook with a certain number of pages, to be turned in and reviewed at the end of the 14 day trip for a grade. I am pleased to say that I got full marks on my sketchbook.
This class made me realize a few things about sketchbooks:
1) I really really like looking at other peoples sketchbooks, art and blogs.
The “textbook” for this class was “Drawing from Life: The Journal As Art“. It is a collection of the journals of many creative people. Some are sketchbooks, others are more esoteric. I still flip though this book often. It got me interested in looking at other peoples blogs, and for similar books. “An Illustrated Life” is another great one.
2) I love drawing
Yep, a lot. And if you draw a lot, even for just 14 days you actually see immediate improvement.
3) I love writing.
I like writing down little thoughts almost as much as a like drawing. I find that I work out problems I didn’t even know I needed to in the process. Journaling is always on those “7-Habits-of-Highly-Productive-Geniuses that make you feel inadequate” lists that people link to on fb. There might be something to that.
4) I need a place to make a mess, there is no such thing as perfect.
I still work on remembering this everyday. Keeping this sketchbook helped me fully appreciate how much of a mess I need to make to create a single non-mess. (Incidentally same rule apples to beauty regimens, how much time do you spend looking goofy with curlers in your hair or contorting your face to apply mascara in order to look “perfect”?).
It also helped me realize that even “bad drawings” and “mistakes” are kind of beautiful in a sketchbook. It’s the nature of the medium. Sometimes the person you are drawing walks away, or your dog chews the spine. Sometimes you spill a bunch of what you are eating on the page, creating what I choose to call an “artistic patina”.
5) It is horrible to have to “fill pages” to meet a quota.
See above re: I hate homework.
6) Drawing in public is awesome and not scary.
Drawing in public takes getting used to. But in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and are traveling with a group of people who all also have to fill a sketchbook in 14 days, it seems totally normal. Even here people have 3 responses: they either ignore you, are fascinated, or tell you you can’t sit there.
7) This is how I “create memories”.
Nothing takes me back to a specific moment like looking back through sketchbooks. I capture details I would never think to take photos of. I am also abysmal at photography (fortunately my boyfriend captures our life in photos beautifully. He needs to stop procrastinating making a blog for his photography, and when he does I will replace this nagging sentence with a link to it).