Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sketchbook Project time again ...

So here's what I've created as this year's contribution to the digital library at the Sketchbook Project. Even though I've had my blank journal since the 2012 tour came to Vancouver, it took me *forever* to decide what to do. I suppose there are worse predicaments than having *too* many ideas ...

It came down to two ideas. The first was an abecedarian of sorts, an A to Z where the pages of the journal had been cut and folded to form the letters. I actually got a pretty good start on this one ... until I realized that I needed to tweak the binding in order to keep the pages together so they could survive shipping and multiple people reading it. I haven't abandoned this idea, but I need to (ugh) do more math.

The second idea was to take a very very very short story I'd written in my journal that I thought might be interesting to illustrate using torn paper collages. And in one those weird accidental forethought situations, it turns out that I went through an unexplained photography phase last summer taking pictures of pebbles, stones, rock walls, sand, water and other natural surfaces. So it was a mere matter of printing out my photos, making a bunch of photocopies and tearing them up. Oh yeah ... like illustrating a book is a mere matter of anything!

The only problem is I'm pretty bad at drawing people ... and there is actually a person in the story, and eventually she has to appear in some form or other ... and no amount of torn rocks and water will pass for a person. I thought I might get away with only showing a hand or an arm, so I did a few drawings. They were ... passable ... but instead of helping the story I felt they were more of a distraction and a let-down.

So there I sat .. staring at my own hand in the position I wanted to draw it and wishing I could transfer it just as it was onto the page. Then I remembered I'd recently I read about a young artist, Sara Lando in Italy, who was crowd-sourcing the funding to have her Magpies book published. Her book was made by photographing herself (and other people, objects, etc), then printing out the photos, cutting everything out and placing them in 3D paper diaramas. She'd then re-photograph them and use the photographs as panels in a graphic novel. What I needed to do was simple ... photograph my hand, print out the photo and glue it into the book. Et voila ... !

The gist of the story is that a woman goes every day to the edge of the river and places a stone till she can build a bridge to the other side. Even as I wrote the story years ago it seemed to me that this was an allegory of sorts, that the bridge was more than a literal bridge ... it was a bridge between more than two physical places ... so I decided to represent the stones as torn text rather than just as ordinary stones.

A few other tidbits ... the sleeve in the photo above is actually the wrong side of some black quilted satin I received in a fabric swap about 15 years ago. Another one of those beautiful little things I've hung onto thinking it might come in handy one day ... and again ~ voila! As usual I've made two copies of this journal ... one for myself and another to be permanently added to the digital library at the Sketchbook Project.


George Wright said...

These images look even more surreal in minature! loved it that your sketchbook had a story.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Penelope! I wish I could see this lovely book soon. I love the image of your hand.