I have a scanner, and it is a magical thing. My cousin Eric gave me a super machine: printer,copier and scanner all in one. And it's compact, too! I have been approaching the machine tentatively, figuring out one feature at a time.
So I scanned sketches. I remember loving to leaf through my friend J's sketch book, seeing what was new as well as revisiting old-time favorites. We were in 7th, 8th, 9th grade, and she was good. She was extremely talented. I felt lucky to see her process, to have access to the beginnings of her creative journey. I loved those sketchbooks so much.
J and I lost touch since. We're still friends, but from afar and on occasion. She's still (thank God!) an artist, and I'm sure that she has filled her fair share of sketch books since high school. Lucky are those who browse through them.
J's talent was unquestionable at the time, and I knew that my creative strenghts lay elsewhere, in writing and theatre. But nonetheless, her sketchbooks inspired me deeply, and I have since kept the habit of sketching. Not all that often, sometimes so badly I have to throw the paper in the trash out of sheer shame, but frequently enough to have a sketchbook I can leaf through.
So here are a few.I'll give little explanations along the way, because I'm a writer and I can't help associating those images with words, memories and sometimes stories.
Jimi Hendrix -From Electric Ladyland album photograpy. I was listening to the album on the beat-up cd player in the Henn House, Fillmore Street, Bethlehem. It was my first year of apprenticeship at Touchstone. No internet to distract me, possibly Lehigh students screaming in the background. Zach in or out, Michael cooking.
Ray Lamontagne, Till the Sun Turns Black album cover. Probably drawn the same night. I had just discovered Ray Lamontagne's music after having heard a lot about him. One of the first second hand cd's I ever bought on amazon.
These were characters I wanted to write: Claire et Aurélien. But I felt the need to draw them instead. I wasn't basing my work on photos or previous drawings. But when I looked at what I had done, I realized these characters looked a bit like my French grandparents. Especially the man. Perhaps the similarities are only in my head. It doesn't really matter.
When John Updike died, they published a striking picture of him in the New York Times. It was all contrasts, very luminous and soulful. I tried to find that quality again in the drawing, but I made his face a bit too wide.
Study of a hat, based on a real hat that I own (different color, but same shape). I was trying to understand volume, and wean myself out of drawing from pictures.
Jacques Prévert, qui me toise - ce visage ancré sur la couverture de l'édition folio de Paroles.
Ma grand-mère et une amie, à Kersiny, Bretagne. Je n'ai pas réussi à convier la perfection de la journée, le soleil éclatant, etc. Mais bon, il faut bien commencer quelquepart...