Have you heard of Sketchtravel?
Sketchtravel is an ingenious idea concocted by my two pals, Gerald Guerlais and Dice Tsutsumi. While discussing the virtues of sketchbooks one day they came up with the inspired idea of purchasing a high quality, strongly bound sketchbook and passing it from one artist to another, hand to hand, all over the world. The book is now two thirds full of gorgeous examples of some of the top illustrators and comic artists working today. Because they are my friends, they let me put something in, too.
The book actually passed through my hands three times before I could summon the courage to commit something to the page. You can imagine that with each drawing submitted, the book becomes heavier in more ways than one. The artists seem to be raising the bar with every new picture and with almost sadistic pleasure. Just taking temporary ownership of this holy tome and protecting it from coffee and other unnatural disasters was enough to paralyze my drawing hand for days. Part of me wished I'd gotten it over with on the first go-round but last week I was finally able to come up with something. I couldn't begin to tell you whether it's any good or not but the drawing certainly reflects my anxiety about the project pretty well.
I should mention, that a facsimile edition of the book will ultimately be published along with some kind of traveling exhibition, presumably including preliminary sketches, photos and film clips. Unfortunately, the contributors are not allowed to post their pieces online before publication so as not to undercut the final impact of the book.
After each person is done with his/her contribution, they are also obliged to photograph the handoff to the next artist. The photos are sometimes straightforward but have veered into the surreal on occasion. I thought it would be funny for my handoff to Natalie Ascencios to actually light the book on fire and then quickly put it out.
I was only partly successful.