I have never considered myself an artist, I am an product designer by education, a director of design strategy by profession, a photographer by passion and a father of two and husband to one. I feel that there has to be a healthy dichotomy to life. If all one does is one thing, then we are not pushing, learning and stretching ourselves to be more than we are. That is why I wrote, illustrated and bound this book. What each of you take from it is up to you, but I hope it brings some form of meaning to someone and inspires peace and good in people....
I started the book last July when I randomly discovered The Sketchbook Project and decided to plunge into the deep. At that point I had no idea what I would do other than complete it. I then started thinking about why I would do it and why it should exist. I decided that to simply do a sketchbook was okay, but I wanted to do more, so I started writing a story about evil. I had always been inspired by the work of Paul Pope and loved his THB series. So I started writing about a story that would re frame evil. I set it in New York because it has to be my favourite city in the world. Each week I would book time over my lunch and go and write the story in a local Cafe in Saint Louis called The Mud House, owned by my friends Casey and Jeremy. I had never written a story before, so right or wrong I started to develop the characters and plot. I soon reached about 30,000 words and decided to hit the brakes and edit it down to a short story, I had to cut a logout as the sketchbook had to be a certain thickness and restricted my word count, plus this was a sketchbook project. So I reduced and edited and struggled to find peace with the ending (sorry for that, to be continued...) and started illustrating using Sumi ink.
I had never used Sumi ink before and instantly fell in love with it, though it did not love me and it took a few weeks of getting my confidence up and getting used to working with it. It does not like people who do not know what they are doing with it..It needs to be laid down with confidence and precision.
Now the clock was ticking and it was December, having finished the story I mocked up a rough prototype that allowed me to plot the story out and reduce it further as well as get an understanding of what illustrations I needed to do and how many I was on the books for. I originally had over 120 illustrations to do, so I started every night after work from around 7:00 pm to 11:00 illustrating the pages. i quickly realized I would need some form of visual reassurance, so I created a checklist and used it to chart progress and keep motivated. It was easy to chose to not illustrate one and skip a day, only to realize I would have to do two the next.
It was nice to be drawing again, I used over 16 pencils and went through about 12 fine liners. I also had to get used to using a brush to draw with, I started using a semi brush, but really did not like it. My style was rigid and i struggled to adapt it, but in the end found a different brush that gave me the precision I needed. I wish I would of had the time to get used to the Sumi brush, but time was not my friend...
I kept on illustrating the sheets all through January to April and finally finished the project. When I started I had no idea what I had signed myself up for nor how long it was to take.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it, I have much to learn about writing and there is much I would of changed and re-done if time was with me. I think when I find more time, I will finishing writing the story and then what I am not sure.
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