August 1, 2011

I first heard of the idea of theme sketchbooks a long time ago – before I even became familiar with the term. The idea excited me: a number of different artists – as many as you could get – all taking on the same subject.

Recently, I decided I had to get one going myself – the adventure simply seemed too thrilling to pass up. First, I had to decide on a subject. It didn’t take me long to come up with “Evil Giant Robots.” Second, I had to get the sketchbook itself. I wanted a nice one. I searched on eBay and found a good deal one that was 10.5″ by 13.5,” had hand made paper and an impressive, very ornamental leather cover. It came in the mail very quickly and now I was all set to start it.

The problem with theme sketchbooks is that the more the pages get filled, the more precious the book becomes literally and sentimentally. The grander its reputation and more it needs to be guarded and protected. The story which brought theme sketchbooks to my attention is a sad one. A sketchbook was being built of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. I never saw the sketchbook myself, but in it were contributions by such legends Jack Kirby and Moebius and many, many others. As it was dropped off to some artists at Comic-Con, it wound up getting stolen. This was over ten years ago, but if anyone find out about its whereabouts, let me know and I’ll contact the original owner.

My thinking on my own theme sketchbook is that it should be filled over a very long period of time. I therefore decided that it would be a joint project with my daughter and could be something that we share together. The agreement that we reached was that I would draw the first page, she would draw the last and we would see how many great artists – well known or not – to contribute a page. Of course I’d like to get as many pages for free as possible – or at least trade a drawing in the book for a drawing by my daughter or me. I realize this is probably limiting and decided that I was open to the idea of commissioning entries.

Assembling the wish lists of artists for this book is exciting, from good friends who will do it in a secon to pipe-dream, who-knows-how-the-hell-I’d-even-contact-them superstars of art. My list is already very long, but if you have any ideas as to who I should try and get, leave them in a comment below.

It can be tricky in propositioning artists to do a page. It’s like you’re asking them to the prom. You want to make sure you catch them at the right moment and that you present the project innocently. It’s also tricky clearing time for them to do the drawing. I’ve had luck in artists alley’s at comic book conventions as well as the Drink and Draw Social Club, which meets Thursday nights downtown.

Here’s how it’s going so far.













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