The Sketchbook Project

I miss Sketch Sunday. For those who weren’t reading this blog previously, two years ago I set myself the challenge of doing a sketch every week. I kept it up until I got back from the Tour, but then lost enthusiasm for various reasons. Going to life drawing classes was part of the problem, because I was getting my drawing fix each week that way.

A few months ago I signed up to The Sketchbook Project. Thousands of little sketchbooks are sent out to people to fill, then gathered together and toured around the US, UK and Australia. I chose the theme ‘Stitches and Folds’ because I figured that, even if the sketches I did didn’t relate, at least a sketchbook was essentially folded paper stitched together. (Well, except that it turned out they’re stapled together, but I can fix that since alteration of the books is allowed.)

The sketchbook arrived (and the t-shirt – well, it was a nice colour) but then sat in various places in the studio as I pondered whether to do sketches that were related, or random. There are 32+ pages to fill, so I didn’t want to be doing anything too complicated. I considered drawing magpies. Or stylistic drawings of people wearing voluminous clothing filled in with patterns. Or faces from a reference book of facial expressions. Or drawings done by stitching the pages with thread.

Thinking about the sort of sketching I gravitated to for Sketch Sunday – loose black line work filled in with watercolour – and the need to put off a whole lot of things until after my book deadline, I hit on the idea of a daily sketch of what I wore each day in December. It could include around-the-house casual clothes, fancier outfits worn to Christmas gatherings, gardening and fence-painting duds, refashioning projects and my New Year’s Eve costume. I could write comments, like a little history about garments I made or purchased overseas.

December first came and though the ms wasn’t done I started sketching.

As you can see, I added glitter and some fabric scraps to my glitzed up shoes. But the glitter was rather messy, so after this I decided not to stick things into the book.

I didn’t want to always do the same kind of sketch, so occasionally I’ve drawn clothes tossed onto the bed, or folded.

And occasionally I’ve drawn the clothes as if they were on the body.

After the first sketch it was clear that the paint was showing on the other side of the paper, so I stuck to drawing on the right. Then I realised that meant I had only 16 pages to work on, so pulled the staples out and sewed another 8 folded sheets of paper in. I used plain old printer paper, which is pretty close to the original paper.

After a week or so I realised that I wear t-shirts a lot. It’s put me in a ‘what the heck will I wear?’ dilemma more often, when I usually only have that when I’m dressing up for an event. Also, I usually wear something twice if it didn’t get sweaty or dirty. Don’t want to waste water or power or end up with huge pile of washing to do. But I became really conscious of how this would look in the sketchbook. Do I wash my clothes every time I wear them? Do I let them pile up for a second wear in January? Do I wear them twice and risk the sketchbook being a bit repetitive?

I’ve kind of been doing all three. I’m halfway through the month now, and I’m thinking about more interesting ways to draw the clothing (on a washing line, perhaps?) and hoping the weather warms up a bit so I can wear and draw more interesting summer clothing. With more Christmas parties coming, Christmas itself and a costume party at the end of the year there’s more opportunity for fun.