The life drawing session that I attended today was in a shared art studio space. During the breaks, I took the liberty of wandering around to look at the artists’ works in progress. I saw some interesting art, but what caught my attention wasn’t art so much as one artist’s sketchbook. I didn’t peek inside, of course (as tempting as that was), and I didn’t have to: The sketchbook’s condition was riveting enough.
It was bulging with so many clippings, photos, Post-its and who-knows-what that the binding was held together with strapping tape. The front cover looked like it had been in a flood and then half-devoured. Even the dog ears had dog ears. That sketchbook had seen some hard – and creative – times.
I thought about my own collection of sketchbooks from the past year, neatly arranged on a bookshelf. I take good care of my sketchbooks, both full and in progress, and I’ve managed to keep them away from floods and devouring creatures. I don’t think I can keep them any other way.
Still, there was something very appealing, compelling, even seductive about that tattered sketchbook. It made me want to see that artist in action, to see the paces he/she puts that sketchbook to. It made me want to see its pages to get a peek inside that artist’s mind.