In happy news: my Sketchbook Project 2012 submission has been scanned and is viewable here!
After no less than three posts on the preparations, on to The Actual Process! 😀
After making a couple of zines and a lot of trial and error, I have found a way of working that uh, works for me. From August to January, I made a list of things that I think define me right now. Some letters were easier than others, and some letters had multiple entries, but it all worked out in the end. In this blog post I boldly proclaimed that I wasn’t going to use text, but that soon turned out impossible. I can’t do without words apparently. Which is why they’re under “W”.
I drew 38 squares (34 pages plus inside/outside front & back) and wrote down what goes where. This is the only way for me to make sure that 1) I don’t make a calculating mistake and 2) know where I am at any given point in the process, because (like with writing) I don’t start at the beginning and work my way through the end. I jump from one page to the next, depending on the topic and the materials at hand.
The first thing I did was the cover, which I later realized I should have done last, you know, to keep it wear and tear free. Oh well, something to keep in mind for next time. The biggest problem I had is the paper creasing and scrunching up because of the glue. The glue stick was the worst, but even with the mod podge, some combinations of paper just didn’t want to be friends. Putting them under a pile of heavy books (Norton Anthology of English and American Literature 1 and 2 FTW!) did help a bit. There’s one page that’s still all crinkly and it hurts my heart, but I’m just going to pretend it was supposed to be that way.
Another problem I had, was that the sketchbook is thin and ink bleeds through like whoa. I solved this by buying 8 more rolls of Japanese masking tape, and wrote on that. It was my first time working with masking tape and I must say: it rules. I understand why people are so crazy about it. What also rules, is this fabric-like paper. It’s HELL to glue (I needed both hands and my mouth!) because it’s really thin and has a tendency to tear, but the texture is AWESOME.
Protip: if you’re planning on using photos, make sure you get two prints of each and that you check the prints before you leave the store. That will save you heaps of misery later on. Oh, and use photo tape, not glue.
Regarding the content: the hardest page was the “R”, about my cat Rood who died in june 2011, but it did turn out like I wanted it. There was one page I just wasn’t happy with, I redid it and it turned out exactly as I had imagined it. Which felt really awesome, because with my limited artistic abilities I hardly ever get things the way I want them. And fixing things usually makes them worse, but in this case it worked. Yay!
Usually when I write/create something, there’s several points at which I get enormously frustrated and start yelling that I QUIT. I did get a little frustrated at the beginning, when the cover took way more time than I expected and I had some glue and tape problems, but after that, everything went smoothly. So all in all, it was a great experience and I’m really looking forward to doing this again!
whined wrote in my last blog post, Winter Break turned out quite different than planned, and I didn’t get to work on my sketchbook at all. I considered abandoning the project, but 1) I had planned out the entire thing already and 2) I might whine, complain, cry on the floor, but then I get over myself and Get Shit Done. Because That’s What You Do. So yesterday, 4 days before the deadline, I started on my sketchbook.
For those who have no clue: every sketchbook has a theme. Mine is “Encyclopedia of” and I’ve decided to make an encyclopedia of… me. Yup, that sounds completely egocentric and well, it is. In this blogpost I will try to explain why & how (is it Le Obvious that I’ve been writing essays and yet more essays lately?), hopefully without using the phrase “the personal is political” (it is, but that’s not the point) and also hopefully without giving the impression that this is a case of, and I quote, “writing fanfiction about yourself”. Which it’s not. Or maybe it is. Whatever. On to ~ma theory~! #Icanhaztheoriez
The concept of identity is something that I think about often: what is it exactly? Is it fluid or fixed? Is it defined by others? Do you become what you are told you are; is it in a way inflicted upon you and do you (re)enact it? Is it something you decide for yourself? Do you get to pick and choose? Is it a social construct? (yeah, I went there) How about genetics? Is it a combination of all of these options? I have long been fascinated with how (some) people are able to define themselves easily (“That’s SO me!”) how it seems like they have a clear or maybe even “fixed” idea of who they are. Not entirely of course, but there seems to be a “core” of what makes them them.
So, what makes me “me” and not some other ~special snowflake~? Sure, I have preferences left and right, but to what extent do they define me as a person? And why do I have these preferences? Also: things change. People change. I know I did. Things that were really important to me no longer are, and vice versa. I know I’ve held on to things that were no longer important to me because I thought they defined me when in fact they didn’t (anymore). On the other hand, things I thought weren’t important to me anymore (“totally Over It”), came back into my life and turned out to be pretty fundamental to my general happiness.
How I’m ever going to cover all of this in my sketchbook? I’m not. About 15 minutes after I started brainstorming I realized that I have way too much to say about this topic. Which is exactly what happens with every damn essay: I usually have enough material for a BA thesis and then get stuck trying to eliminate about 97% of what I wanted to discuss. Thankfully, there’s nobody stopping me from writing a zine about this subject, so that’s where I’ll pretend to be a philosopher. In my sketchbook I’ll just go for an alphabetical list of things I feel define “me” right now, time capsule/snapshot style.
And to reward the lovely people who read through this entire thing, here’s a picture of the cover:
A blogpost about the actual process with pictures will follow soonish!
This morning after class, I celebrated having succesfully completed “week 13” by going to the arts supply store. I’d planned to only buy a bone folder (for zine folding) and some paper, but as you can see in the picture below, I got a bit carried away and bought, amongst others, cat shaped paper clips. Yes, really.
Click on the picture to go to Flickr and then mouse over for notes.
Time flies when you’re studying English apparently, ‘cause in 2 ½ weeks it’s…ta-dah! Winter Break*! Which means that (asides from studying like a mofo for my exams in January of course) I’ll FINALLY have time to start working on my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project, which has been lying around here since the end of August and is still completely blank.
I have thought a lot about what I want to do with it and how I’m going to do that. Since drawing isn’t my strongest point (understatement of the century), I’ll have to find other ways to get my message across. I don’t want to just use text for two reasons: 1) it’s a sketchbook, not a notebook; 2) I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and do something I’ve never done before. And I’ve done text. Lots of it. 5 NaNoWriMo’s of it. And then some.
Looking at what people did last year has proven to be very helpful. People interpret the same theme in completely different ways, some keep it very literal while others seem to barely adhere to the theme at all. And then there’s the multitude of styles and techniques used, from minimalistic to very elaborate. I haven’t decided yet what techniques and materials I’m going to use, but it’s nice to get an idea of the possibilities and to ‘think outside the box’. Or cage, if you’re a rat.
I was going to elaborate on the theme I chose (“Encyclopedia of”) and what I’m going to do with it, but this post is already reaching tl;dr, so I’ll write a separate post about that later this week.
* Or “Christmas Break” as they stubbornly keep calling it here.