Death Valley Sketchbook

deathvalleyjournal

A decade ago, I did a week-long drawing trip through Nevada and parts of California with my pal, D.Price. The sketchbook I kept (only my 7th to that point) was the first step in my publishing career. When I shared it with an editor at City & Co., who liked it so much she asked me to assemble a book of my journals. Ultimately, though I ended up placing that book with Princeton Architectural Press (Everyday Matters), it was so nice to have someone interested in my work and this concentrated drawing trip was the kick-off point.
I was flipping through the original journal today and thought I’d make a little video tour. It’s also notable as several other firsts — one of my first hand-bound books, one of the first times I made a dedicated journal for one trip, and one of the first times I experimented with watercolors.

The film I made ended up being eleven minutes long, so I cut it into two episodes. You can see them both there.

Oh, and if you like this sort of thing, let me know and I’ll do more if it. (Though I am not trying to make anything technically sophisticated with these little films, I would love to know if there’s any particular information you’d like to know about my sketchbooks). I appreciate your comments and insights.

Portraits

I’ve been working on this series for a while, all in one book. They are in watercolor, pen, brush and sumi-ink. They are all drawn upside down.

I made a couple of little time-lapse films of how I drew and painted some of these portraits.
Click To Play

Jersey City


On the way to work, walking up the West Side drive, one of the loveliest additions to my lovely city. The view of Jersey is is a little dull with all its new glass box construction but it’s nice to watch the boats whizz by and pretend I live in some coastal resort like Miami or Brighton or Dhaka.

I am fiddling with an ultra cheapoid set of gouache paints Patti gave me. It came in a set of stacking disks that look lovely in the box but are chalky and a little garish on the page. Perfect for painting JC and a garbage truck.
This, the final page of my moleskine, is painted not on watercolor paper but the oak-tag end-paper of the book. I have squeezed every morsel of pleasure out of this book and it’s time to crack open the next volume.

Slumberpups

Sometimes I use my journal to do more involved, careful drawings. At other times, I use it to just fill in a few minutes, or to record a little factoid about my day. This spread is a good example.

Tim is such a nervous little creature that if I draw him while he’s awake, he gets very nervous that I appear to be staring him down. He can be really tough at times, joining Joe in barking at random dogs in the street, or fighting over a rawhide on the living room rug, but most of the time he lives up to his name: Timid Tim. If you met for the first time, you’d assume he’d been horribly abused as a pup, but he inherited his nerves from his mother, who is a total basket case.

I quite like this painting of Jack for the colors and the layering of paint but my unfortunate use of shading dots makes him look like he needs a good shave. Live and learn.