Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sketchbooks revisited ... part two: cover stories

Ever have those days when you're attracted to a particular colour palette? Brown kraft + black + white has always been my thing anyway, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the original covers on the Sketchbook Project Sketchbooks are that nice earthy brown to start with. In my own contributions to The Sketchbook Project, I've never been able to resist covering up everything with colour, but I find all the above covers unspeakably beautiful and oh so wish that I'd come up with them myself.

Left to right on the top row we have: Simple Beautiful Things by Staci Adman, Atlas of Turning 50 by Robin Matthews and Fox + Owl by Shawna Handke
Left to right on the bottom there's: i no longer feel the need to ask permission by kelly letky, untitled by therese murdza and untitled by artist unknown (sorry!).

Staci Adman's Simple Beautiful Things is all it says it is. I highly encourage you to look at the whole book online. I posted one of it's pages, Fall vs. Summer Honey, in my previous post, but truly every single page is quite, quite amazing and made me want to rush home immediately and journal all my little treasures with a similar care and magic. And notice the lovely little beads along the spine - simple AND beautiful!

Fox + Owl is a lovely work of torn text page collage and paint by Shawna Handke. Some pages are breathtakingly beautiful and it would be a tragedy if they weren't seen by more people, so go there now.

Kelly Letky's i no longer feel the need to ask permission is a great example of how to marry striking natural images with deep personal poetry. I felt like I was reading a work that ought to be published for a wider audience.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it barely begins to cover the tactile satisfaction of therese murdza's untitled. omg. I *so* did not want to let this book go. The combination of crunchy gesso, text page collages and simple mark making had me envious at first sight. Why oh why do I fill my sketchbooks with complex cerebral ideas when something like this is so gobsmackingly delicious?

I feel bad about not getting the info on the last book. Up to this point in the day I'd been studiously taking pictures of the back cover of each book, and noting whether or not it was digitized for your viewing pleasure, but I guess the sketchbooks were flying thick and fast and I didn't make a note of the author's name on this one, for which I am truly sorry. I tried finding it on the Sketchbook Project website, but either it wasn't digitized, or wasn't tagged with a searchable word. The book was a touching story of a woman whose mother chose medical denial for what was (by the author's judgement) a 98% treatable kind of cancer. It was a hard read in some ways ... but unable to talk to her mother about her hopes and frustrations, I like to think by telling all of us, she was letting go of things in her own beautiful way. I'll keep looking and see if I can find it online, but (ironically?) the odds aren't good.

Okey, dokey ... time for a little colour! Top left: Encyclopedia of Sharks - Part XI by Pascal Lecocq. Okay ... so Part XI isn't digitized, but some of his previous shark encyclopedias are. If sharks are your thing, I'd start with the first one, and then you can work your way through Parts 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. You don't have to, and of course they're about more than sharks. I just loved his cover, so blue blue blue in a sea of brown (if you'll pardon the pun).

Top right is Atlas of My Dreams by Sonja NYC. I was immediately amazed by the use of thread on the Australian coast on the cover. I pretty much love anything that incorporates fiber in unexpected ways and this was beautifully done. The inner content never mentions Australia, instead it features Alice in Wonderland and sea creatures. Mysterious ...

Bottom left is Greetings from South Africa by Mieke van der Merwe ~ a cover (and book) that shouts it's beautiful detail from start to finish. I know very little about South Africa but this book's lovely colourful  line drawings and paintings of buildings, people, cameras and condiments (condiments?!) makes me want to go there.

Lastly, bottom right, is Map of the Table by Bonnie Hull. Now this is truly a case of not judging a book by its cover. I loved the cover right off ... triangular duct-tape snow-covered mountains, running along a duct-tape road, looking up to a fabulous blue duct-tape sky ... wonderful and tactile ... and absolutely no hint on the cover that inside there's a quirky string of simple line drawings of ... stuff on tables. A sense of the everyday  captured on various tables at various times ... tax time, breakfast time, meeting time, dinner time. I almost saved this one for my next post on fabulous inspiring line drawings, but since this post is about covers, the cover won out.

More next time ...