Sketchbook Number Fifty-Nine – May 2009 – August 2011

Cover of Sketchbook Number 59, 2009-2011, 5 1/2"x8 1/14"

I finished this sketchbook a month or so ago and am just getting around to posting selections from it here. It’s a smaller book than I usually work in – 5 inches by 8 inches – about half the size of the usual 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches.

It’s also had a somewhat funky history. Usually I just do a book from cover to cover… but not this one. I used it initially during the Summer 2009 run of the Cornerstone Theater Company L.A. River play Touch the Water (which I wrote about here, here, and here.) The character I played sat and sketched a great blue heron… so this book has a lot of actual sketches done during performances. After that I put it on the shelf for a while.

Then, in early June 2011, I briefly lost sketchbook 58, and picked this one up for a few days. Then, after I finished sketchbook 58 in late June 2011, I picked this one back up and finished it off.

The cover (above) has an “it’s in your hands” sticker from Federico Tobon, who gave it to me when I gave him a CicLAvia one, also on the cover. These days I work full time for CicLAvia, L.A.’s open streets ciclovía event.

First pages of sketchbook No. 59, pencil, India ink, and water color on paper

Initially I called this one “Joe Swift’s Sketch Book” – for the name of the character I played in Touch the Water.

Sketch of Liebe, pencil on paper

There are a few sketches I did during Touch the Water rehearsals. This one is of Liebe Gray, who played a duck.

Sketches of Rachel Garcia as great blue heron, pencil on paper

I actually don’t usually sketch in pencil… but this book has lots and lots of these sketches that were part of the play. These sketches are of Rachel Garcia who’s playing a great blue heron, doing a dance. You can see a photo of her in her heron costume here. It’s good practice to do these really quick gestural sketches of someone in motion… though it’s not something I do often. Mostly I like to sketch folks who are more-or-less holding still.

Lettering sketch, pen and colored pencil on paper

I do a lot of playing around with lettering in my sketchbooks. This sketch I colored in using colored pencils that I got when I was sketching in San Francisco earlier this year.

Sketches of mom's hand, ink on paper

I think that the most powerful sketches in this sketchbook are the ones I did of my mom while she was in the hospital. This one is of her hand, and includes a sort of false start, so it’s a kind of confusing double image. I already posted quite a few of these sketches of mom here, and told the story mostly over at The Periodic Fable. I miss her.

sketches of profiles, ink on paper

I do a lot of these made-up faces, distorted and unreal.

Sketch of a Metrolink train passenger, ink on paper

Still doing a fair amount of observations in my sketchbooks. It’s a good practice for me, because mostly I just make up stuff – like the profiles just above this one.

If you like these sketchbook sketches, check out earlier posts of books number 58, 57, and 56.

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