29 August 2011

mix tape traveling journal

Some months ago Jessica Mack (aka @brownpaperbunny) of Canberra, Australia asked if anyone wanted to join in on a traveling journal. I signed up, waited patiently, and one day in August the book arrived to me. Now I can share the story of my turn...

Each artist gets to fill out two double-page spreads with simple rules: at least one line must be carried over from the previous page into the new one and the theme is: blue.

Jessica's beginning.

I'd seen Jessica's initial drawings on her blog when she gave the book its start and the artwork was even more charming in person. Since that time, three more artists had drawn in the book, making eight images total to fold out on the accordion pages.

Helen's pages

Helen had sent me the book from Thorndale, Pennsylvania and her pages seemed to echo Jessica's initial art. Both had a city view followed by a countryside scene and were done mostly with ink and colored pens. Two other artists' works sat between them. (I'm showing you a bit of the pages they connect to in the photos as I think it's interesting to see the lines and shapes the artists chose to continue on to their page).

Sara's dark blue

Sara Carns of Phoenix, Arizona had very intriguing pages with layers of pattern, design, gesso, paint, ink, stamps and embellishments. Her first page accented twitter (where the project originated) and the second page addressed the "mix tape" theme of music ~ hence the lyrics from Dark Blue by Jack's Mannequin ~ which is a pretty excellent band to choose, not just for the blue-themed song but also because The Mixed Tape is another song on the Everything in Transit album. This mix tape book is definitely in transit, so that was simply brilliant on her part!

Liz's pages are so pretty and bright. You can tell she designs greeting cards!

Sara's work connected to the perfect penmanship and dainty decorations of Elizabeth Caldwell. I'd seen many of her designs that she shared on twitter or her blog, so it was a little thrill to see her familiar style there on the page. She carried a bit of the tweeting theme along, too, tying it to a cute children's song that I knew because I once taught it to a group of five-year olds for a spring choir performance. It brought me right back to theie little voices warbling as they shook their clappers in time and two girls clanged tiny cymbals as accent notes. Kids are so sweet. One of her little birds is even wearing over-sized heels, like when you're little and you try on your mom's shoes. That's incredibly cute in my book.

So, I oooh'ed and aaah'ed over all the completed pages, and then it was my turn. I had some ideas but didn't know immediately how to begin. I scribbled on a notepad:

having the blues
singing the blues
blue suede shoes
blue monday
blue skies
blue is the sky when I'm without you
ocean blue
blue whale
blue agave
bluefin tuna

A picture began forming in my mind of friends at sea, in a boat at night, playing music. A little sweet, a little familiar, with a bit of that magical storybook feeling. {I hoped, anyway, that it would turn out like that.} When I studied the lines that Helen had left for me to connect to, I was very pleased that she'd been so generous as to give me the lines of two leaves in addition to the basic horizon. Looking at how they would continue out, it was almost immediately clear that on my side of the page the leaves could only transform into a flying gull. And so it came to be.

The night sky demanded a full moon and as I started drawing the mast of the boat I recalled that the Italian word for mast is albero which also means tree. Soon, branches were growing and the sail became a living one with leaves.

My blue vision.

Since the next spread was also mine, I liked the idea of having a less marked delineation and just sort of 'spilling' onto the next scene ~ totally appropriate since it was almost all water and I wanted to move on to a water creature I'm quite fond of, the blue whale. I have a soft spot for whales and the blue whale in particular. They're magnificent and swim most of the world's oceans but can be found along the California coast quite often. They're the biggest animals in the world and the loudest. They can hear for 1,000 miles and their newborns weigh 3 tons! They live 80 - 100 years unless attacked by sharks or injured by large ships. Unfortunately, they're also endangered. I used pencil and watercolor to express my admiration for these beautiful krill-eaters.

Now I'm working on my artist card to add to the mix's back pocket and then I'll send it off. I'm sorry to see it go as I've gotten rather attached to it! But it will be fun to see what the next artists come up with.

By September 1st, I'll send the book off to Sue in Maryland, after which it will pass along to three dear friends of mine ~ Jessica Gowling in Canada, Thuraya Lynn in Kuwait and Juri Kosaka in Tokyo. Another stop in Australia to comic artist Lisa McDonald and then it'll be back to Jessica once more. Can't wait to see the songs and blues they add to its pages and read the continuing adventures of the traveling mix tape!


Jessica Mack said...

I love what you've done. And I can't wait to see the finished book! :D

Annarack said...

This project is amazing. I love everyone's contributions so far and yours are brilliant, especially the whale :)

I would have so loved to be involved in this project. Maybe Jessica will start another one on another theme.

Sara Carns said...

Wow Wow Wow, Kimi! Your pages are FANTASTIC! I can tell you are just full of talent. The detail on the whale and the moon and how you connected the page lines... just jaw-dropping. I love it all! I'm so jealous of that Miss Jessica! I wish I was able to have this book back when completed!

Red said...

I absolutely adore what you've done, m'dear. Especially the moon. I want to hug it VERY tightly and use it as my nightlight. And it's just a part of the overall awesome right there. :)

ejorpin said...

Wow! Such a great collaboration, fascinating to see the different interpretations and styles. I especially love your whale, what an astonishing creature! And I like the way you transitioned between the two spreads, it creates a really nice flow.

kimi said...

This project has been so much fun that I'm almost sorry that my part in it is already done! However...

I've chosen a new moleskine & contacted the art store to purchase it. I should have it this Friday and we'll get a new traveling journal started. (One that will eventually come back to me...)! Hope you'll join me for that!

I'm very thankful for all your supportive and highly complimentary comments about my pages ~ you've all been so encouraging! I'm really happy to have met so many talented artists through this project, twitter & the blogiverse. ^_^ Talk to you all again soon ~ and hopefully create together again soon as well!

Thuraya Lynn said...

Everything looks precious and lovely, I also love whales, they're magical and almost seem like they fly in 'liquid' sky.

Though I'm not familiar with the chant; that blue song's stuck in my head. I'm going to dream in color deep blue.

..Pretty much excited that it'll be mine to play with in a couple of more months, kya!

Heedless said...

fun project!! beautiful work!!

Kye Sangha said...

What a treat this book looks to be! It's all beautiful, but Sara's pages had me peering closer & closer to the page- I want to breathe her blue into me.

kimi said...

I love Sara's pages too. Kept going back to them and studying all her layers... :)