Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Nerdy Sketchbook Collection

I haven't unpacked my SPX minicomics haul yet, so any reviews are going to have to wait at least a little while. But coming home from SPX means a little bit of reflection, for me, on one of my nerdier fan practices. I have a small collection of sketchbooks in which I ask people to draw. Most of them have themes: I ask people to draw something in particular. I know this is a thing that people do at these conventions, and maybe I shouldn't feel sheepish about it. I've seen some much more specific sketchbooks (Sean T. Collins's David Bowie sketchbook comes to mind), and I have tried to make my themes be things that will be fun to draw, but I still feel a little weird about the "collecting" aspect of these things.

Anyway, I'm hoping to add extra interest to some of my upcoming SPX minicomics reviews by showing images from these sketchbooks, and I thought I'd introduce the themes in this post so I could have a context ready for those images later.

The first sketchbook I took to a convention was for MoCCA in 2003, and it doesn't have a theme, but it does have a few treasures in it, like this lightning-quick sketch of Bacchus by Eddie Campbell.

For the next MoCCA I went to, in 2004, I got a new sketchbook and started asking for drawings on a theme. This was the monkey sketchbook that I've already mentioned a few times on the blog.

There's a monkey by Jeffrey Brown from that very MoCCA. The monkey sketchbook has become a real treasure for me. It's got work in it by some terrific cartoonists. It's also almost totally full.

In 2006 I attended ICAF and SPX and forgot my monkey sketchbook, so I ducked into a bookstore in DC and bought a blank book I could use for a new sketchbook. Since I also enjoy drawing robots, I settled on that for the next theme. This drawing by Matt Wiegle (who won an Ignatz this year) is from SPX 2007:

The robot book has many more pages in it than the monkey book, and I'm sure I'll keep toting it to small-press shows until it's full up. But for some reason, for this year's SPX, I decided to start another sketchbook. And because the first theme I thought of might not be fun for everyone, I decided to start two.

I know I've had a lot of fun drawing demons in the past, so I set one book up to be full of demons. Here's a fun one by Scott C.:

The other new book is harder to explain. I ask people to draw the character they usually draw, but dressed as some specific superhero, like they're dressed up for Halloween or a San-Diego-style nerd convention. I let the artists pick their superheroes: "Your favorite one," I say, if they ask. This is not a book that everyone would want to draw in, I think, but for some cartoonists it's going to be pretty fun.

In order to make the theme easier for me to explain, I asked Roger Langridge to draw Fred the Clown as The Mighty Thor to kick things off.

I'll share more images from these various sketchbooks in the weeks to come. (And now I have a surefire source for a quick post if I don't have time to think of anything elaborate.)

1 comment:

EscapeHatch said...

These are awesome! (Especially Fred as Thor! Roger is incredible at these things.) I was at SPX this year (for the first time since '03) and getting sketches is my favorite thing about going to these shows. The artists are always so generous with their time and talents.

I've posted some of the sketches in the massive 300-page book I cart around to these things here. The hook I use is to do an opening sketch for each show that sets the theme. "Rock n Roll" for MoCCA 03, and the triple threat of "Robots, Cowboys, and Outer Space" for SPX 03. (This year's theme of "Pretty girls, Elephants and/or the Apocalypse" will be posted soonish.

Also, enjoyed your "Teaching Comics" panel. Looking forward to seeing the reviews of your haul.