Tuesday, 27 May 2014

An Illustrated Life- Book Recommendation

An Illustrated Life- Danny Gregory

This week over in the Islanders blog, we are having a themed week and this weeks theme is recommending a book. So Im going to post the same here on my own blog for yer enjoyment! First off I would like to apologise on the quality of the photos here, as I just have my camera in my phone at the moment.

The book I'm going to recommend, as its good for both professional and amateur, is 'An Illustrated Life'. The book is essentially a collection of sketchbooks, and shows how different artists, designers, comic artists and illustrators etc use their sketchbooks to illustrate their lives or part of it, whether internal or external. While most are professionals, there is one or two here that would be more hobbyist or sometimes are other kinds of art professionals, like architects whom use the sketchbook for fun more than a professional pursuit.

I have found the book a revelation, just to see the variety of ways people use their sketchbooks and their Raison d'être for doing so, some reasons obvious others not so much examples: wild ideas, a form of therapy, connecting to the world, recording their lives, withdrawing from reality, their creative outlet funtime.

Some mention that they make their own sketcbooks with bookbinding, others the different kinds of sketchbooks they use (some wild sketchbooks I had never heard of before, like Japanese scroll notebooks: https://shop.moleskine.com/en-us/notebooks-journals/creativity/art-plus-japanese-album-pocket-plain-hard-black-6998) as well as discussing tools of sketching etc. Some are open with their sketchbooks and let all comers by see them, while others hide in their cars during sketching.

The artists are from a variety of backgrounds, but mostly westerners so Europeans and North Americans. It has some heavy weights like R. Crumb and James Jean as well as alot of others less well known but etching a living in the art field. The production quality of the book is great, nice graphic design and I like the long page format it has, like a large landscape watercolour sketchbook.

I mostly use my sketchbooks to experiment in art, ideas I would never try out in a final piece or to study the world when Im out and about or to tell the story of my sketch journeys but because of this my sketchbooks are often disjointed and all over the place. Looking at these guys makes me want to make sketchbooks with one singular purpose like these guys do, something to be read front to back.

I pick up the book occasionally, just to keep me inspired with new ideas as I sketch alot myself. Im only half way through but it has already been influential in how I use my sketchbook these days and has kept my sketchbooking evolving so its definitely been a great book to read, highly recommended!

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