An Illustrated Life: drawing inspiration from the private sketchbooks of artists, illustrators and designers
I mentioned this book by Danny Gregory at the first day of this class a little bit. And I would like to post some information on it, because it is one of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I've read for the last year.
The book is a collection of drawings that designers, artists, writers, art directors from all over the world made in their illustrated journals. For the most part these journals were not intended to be shared at all, and many of them are very personal, humorous, amusing, enticing, fascinating. "The pages of these book are filled with doorways to private worlds, drawn and written to record impressions, to work without judgment, to take risks and to chart new directions... This is an art form that must be experienced as it was created, one on one just as you are doing now, your head bent over the pages, absorbing each sketch and note, then turning to the next. With each turn, a fresh surprise, a new juxtaposition. The pages unfold like a story, a journey, a life. Each of the books is a slender slice of a life, a slice that could be weeks long or months or years, depending on the habits of the artists and the thickness of the volume. As you turn the pages, you feel the time pass. You see moments being recorded in sequence. You see ideas unfold and deepen. You see risks. Mistakes, regrets, thoughts, lessons, dreams, all set down in ink for posterity, for an audience of one." (D. Gregory, 2008)
Each author tells a short story about how they started keeping their illustrated journals, some of them were doing it since they learned how to use a pencil, others started doing it when they were in their thirties, they all had different reasons for doing it, but they all find it very inspiring and helpful in their lives and work.
"What they [my sketchbooks] turned out to be is the thing that keeps me sane! People need some kind of structure in their life." (James Kochalka, 2008)
"I've always drawn. I can't sing. I certainly can't dance. But I can draw the hell out of just about any silly thing you ask me to. [...] The sole purpose of my sketchbooks is to have a place where I can let out all manner of weird little notions and doodles without having to show it to anyone. Sometimes, these silly little drawings will become ideas for projects, but most of the time they don't go beyond being a quick little drawing." (Noah Z. Jones, 2008)
"My sketchbook is a place where anything goes. It doesn't have to look good or smart or professional. If there is any rule, it's that it needs to be fun and sometimes stupid and silly. I'm not drawing to develop ideas for a particular painting -- there is usually no larger purpose the sketches are tied to. They just live in that simple moment." (Rick Beerhorst, 2008)