02 July 2012

sketchbook report, part 1 ~ {oakland tour}

In just a few days time the Sketchbook Project 2012 will have traveled back across the United States from Oakland, California to Lynn, Massachusetts for three glorious library days July 6-9. I was lucky that here in the Bay Area the tour stayed for over two weeks! My days have been extraordinarily busy the past two months and I really had to squeeze in my visit. I wished I could have gone every weekend and stayed entire days there but alas, it was not possible. Even so, I have a lot to share with you from my Sketchbook Project Tour experience. And it was great!

Once we found the tour location, hidden cleverly down a pretty alley and across a lot to the back of a handsome brick building, we were greeted with a huge Welcome sign, no lines to queue in, and a few seats left, but most of them full.

I didn't remember to bring my library card from last year, so the first thing I had to do was get a new card. That was easy - one simply picks a card from the bowl, enters one's name and such on the computer and scans the card to activate. I attended with two friends, and we each got a card so we could check out as many books as possible.

There were new rules this year: two sketchbooks can be checked out at a time, and only one of those books can be chosen by you. The other one you receive is a completely random selection. This is a drawback if you have a big list of friends' books that you'd like to see in a limited amount of time, but it's also a nice feature because it's a great way to discover new artworks and artists too. Once a request is made, the efficient and helpful Sketchbook Project Tour staff gather your two books for you in no time at all. While you're waiting, you can admire all the fab chalk art on the walls or goggle at the shelves and shelves of sketchbooks.

The first sketchbook I requested was Jeannine Saylor's Ask Me How I Can Help. She had done such a good job posting her progress while making the book that I was already familiar with the pages, but there's such a difference when actually holding the book and flipping through the pages. The art just leaps out, colors are brighter, textures are touchable and it's really cool to hold something made by a friend you only know from a distance.

As a Saylor Made fan, I am proud to say that I also checked out Jeannine's book that she made last year for the 2011 Sketchbook Project Tour. While I enjoyed both of them, I felt that she kept the theme really strong in this year's book and I really liked her use of stamps. One day I'll have to go to the Sketchbook Project Library in Brooklyn and see her Limited Edition book so I can follow the entire series. :)

At this point, my library-mates had also checked out some books so we started passing them around to each other. Usually the random book would match the theme of the chosen book, so when a friend checked out my Uncharted Waters, he received another Uncharted Waters to go with it. It was pretty neat to see how varied the interpretations could be upon the same theme.

The second book I requested was that of Jessica Gowling, whose fur cover and wildlife-inspired pages were irresistible. Especially since her black-furred book from last year went missing in the postal system on its way to the Sketchbook Project Library, I knew I didn't want to miss the chance to meet her white-furred 2012 book while it was in the Bay Area. We were not disappointed ~ it even had a 3D page with 3D glasses to whip out for full effect.

In tribute to her lost 2011 book, she drew inspiration page by page from her old book to create her new book. In the back of the new book, she attached a mini-zine version of her 2011 book. How about that?

She worked hard to make many copies and now you can buy both zines in her etsy shop. I always a learn a lot from Ms. Gowling!

The third book I requested was by another friend and favorite artist of mine, Juriko Kosaka. Her sketchbook documented a visit to her parents' home in Japan. Just as I expected, it was charming and delightful. Her ink drawings are simple yet detailed and she often adds just a hint of color. She's very good at conveying a mood, and it's usually a lighthearted, peaceful one.

I liked her parents' shy cat and the photos and objects in the room. I felt like I was getting to know her family, even though we've never met. Juriko is very good at composing her art to tell her story a piece at a time, until by the end of the book the whole picture has been presented. I checked out her sketchbook on last year's tour, too, and had a similar feeling of getting to peek in her world.

I love how personal the sketchbooks become as we make them and how that personal communication goes out into the world with the Sketchbook Project. So, a big "thanks!" to the fine Art House folks for making this all possible.

I hope you enjoyed this first report of my visit. Next time I will share with you some of the new art I discovered and admired on the tour. (I even met a fellow sketchbook artist, too!)

In the meantime... keep creating! ^_^


Juriko Kosaka said...

It sounds very good to hold sketchbooks in your own hands. As you said, it's different between works on images(photos or internet) and works in reality.
Thank you for checking my sketchbooks and your warm feedback:)
I'm looking forward to looking at your new works too!

kimi said...

Hi Juriko! I really enjoyed "visiting" at your parents' home through your book. There were so many beautiful pages it was hard to pick the ones to photograph for posting. I'm sorry the light where I was made the pages not pure white in the pictures. Your work is beautiful. I haven't forgotten the art you sent to me, either! Ideas are forming in my mind for my part of the collaboration and I plan to get started on it soon! :)

SaylorMade said...

Thank you so much for checking out my book and relaying such kind sentiments in this post. I know I've said how happy I am to have 'met' you online many times, but it still rings true.

Juriko's sketchbook looks delightful. Sometimes I forget that a very interesting visual story can be told during a weekend or familiar surroundings.

kimi said...

I should thank you for making such an incredible book! I was really marveling over how clean your compositions are and loved all your hand-carved stamps. Each page was really fun and I loved all the advice (some of it learned the hard way, perhaps!). I also really like your color palette and the way you so successfully combine the soft washes of watercolor with the color blocks of ink and clean lines of pen. If I had a travel agency I would hire you on the spot to elaborate on your "get to know each part of Canada" theme and I would put that spread of the sketchbook up in every window and in magazine ads. I'm surprised someone hasn't done so already ~ it definitely makes me want to travel! :)

Anonymous said...

so awesome (this post). so jealous (of your adventures in the sketchbook project library). so thankful (for your kind words about my work).

Kye Sangha said...

How wonderful! Im jealous of you getting to hold these books I've only seen on blogs-living in the bay area sure does have some advantages!

kimi said...

so happy (to know a great artist as yourself!) ~ hi jess!

kimi said...

I think Boulder would be a great stop for the Sketchbook Project tour! Paging through the books with the beautiful mountains as a backdrop, sipping Good Earth tea, perhaps? :)

Christine said...

Dear Kimi, the curious side of me has been wondering if you happen to do mail art swaps?

kimi said...

Hello Christine ~ To be honest, I have been a terrible mail art companion the past year and my friends have had to be extremely patient. However, there is hope on the horizon and I actually have three little packs almost ready to send on their way. So I suppose the answer is yes! :)

Christine said...

Hi Kimi, thanks so much for replying! I see, in that case, would you still want another pen-pal? Otherwise, it's okay; I understand. I'm willing to wait :)