The 2017 Sketchbook Project

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There’s this little project I do every year (since 2012 so far) it’s called The Sketchbook Project, and it’s through the Brooklyn Art Library (so if you’re ever in Brooklyn, you can go there, sign up for a library card, and check out sketchbooks in their collection. (They are made by people from around the world.) You can also log in at their website and browse their digitized collection too. (All of my sketchbooks have been digitized.)

This is the front and back covers. I love to make things, and this is my latest art project that I’m quite happy with.

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These page spreads are part of Chapter 5, “The Jackalope,” from This Little Black Book,  which when I first started making the sketchbook, these pages were the first pieces I made. It came into being because the Jackalope is featured in my novel, Drinking from the Fishbowl (which I’ve been working on diligently for many years and have finished, I’m in the process of design and looking at the first proof copy.) So one thing inspired another…

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The mythological creature is a metaphor of sorts—people make up shit all the time, I’ve been guilty of letting my mind wander, that’s why I’m a writer. It’s a long complicated story, I’ve blogged about it before here.

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The “moon” shape on the left page happened by accident after I saturated a piece of paper with India ink. When I was looking to put this wet paper somewhere safe where it wouldn’t stick to a surface, or get ruined, I set it on two plastic containers that I use for water to clean my brushes (they were both empty) and then discovered that they created this awesome circle (light on one side, dark on the other.) So of course, I had to do it again on another sheet to see if it would “do it again.” It did. YAY! Happy accidents are the fun part – That goes for my writing too, not everything is planned, I love it when I discover something while writing, right up until the last day I was working on it, I added that one more “damnable thing”

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A lot of what I did throughout this sketchbook had to do with mark-making – the vertical scribble on the right hand side of the image above is my book’s title (Drinking from the Fishbowl) scribbled and overlapped. (That’s a white Sharpie on paper treated with India ink.)

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I had so much fun making this sketchbook! It was so hard to part with it, but I’m so glad to share it, and part of the making of this little book is to be touched, held, and examined. There are a lot of layers of media on most of the pages, so I expect the “looker” to handle it and experience the book as object.

I love making art, and I love the Sketchbook Project, if it is the only art project I make all year long, I’m happy. I truly had fun being scribbly, reaching back to my childhood before I learned how to write and wanted to write something, so I scribbled cuz I loved the act of making marks. I still do.

Now that this Sketchbook is finished, I can focus on my proof copy of Fishbowl, and get it ready to go…

Today, sunny and warm with a chance of the world ending.


Every day that goes by with

most of the world still

in one piece is a good day.

It isn’t perfect.

There are wars going on, refugees

looking for a safe place to be,

and some that stay behind

because they have no other choice.

Terrorists lurking in our midst

looking to do harm.

People killing one another over this

or some other, you name it—

fill in the blank with the reason why,

there are many.

Natural disasters and shit happening.

Elections for world leaders

who may or may not be

good for their country—societies divided

by ideology.

No compromise.

My way or the highway rhetoric.

Talking points to a future of more of the same

shit, different administration.

There are always dictators out there

doing their own thing. There’s always that guy who likes to

thumb his nose at the rest of the world, making threats.

Today, sunny and warm with a chance of the world ending.