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Thanksgiving Gratitude

From the Archives: The Sketchbook Project: Alphabet Collective

Do you recall the Letter Ladies post I did back in January?  Well, most (not all) of the book is now posted on the Art House Coop website.  Click through the link to see what my collaborator did with her letters!

Here is the original post from January 25, 2012:

So I've been very anti "The Sketchbook Project" since I first heard about it several years ago.  I think it's a super cool idea to collect all these sketchbooks and exhibit them, but it just doesn't feel right to me that you have to pay to enter your work and then you never get it back.  Doesn't sound like a great deal to me.  So every time someone has sent me a link and said, "This sounds right up your alley!"  I've politely thanked them and ignored it.

And then a friend of mine invited me to participate in her sketchbook for the project.

I wanted to say, "no!"

But then she said she wanted to do an alphabet book.

I happen to be alphabet obsessed.  And I figured, I'll throw together a few letters and who cares.  

Things didn't quite work out the way I expected.  

My friend e-mailed me a sketch of how the book was to go together (she's binding it herself) and told me to use any paper I wanted and assigned me half of the alphabet.  Before I left for my Mom's house for Christmas, I grabbed some Fabriano watercolor paper (amazing stuff -- highly recommend!) I had sitting around and been meaning to use, and cut it down to size.  Then at my Mom's I sat down to sketch my letters and people started coming out instead!

Since I'm a person who believes in "following the shiny ball," I embraced it and kept going.  Each of my ladies is meant to be some sort of sideways-thinking embodiment of a particular letter.  And each panel incorporates the actual letter -- some of them very obviously, and some less so.  About half the women are drawn from my imagination. The other half are sketches I did looking at photos in magazines.  Ever since my figure drawing class I've learned that I do a better job if I have a model to look at.

Ready to take a peek?


 A...I drew this one originally thinking of "The Scarlet A."  I drew it based on a Marc Jacobs perfume ad where the model had a kind of Lolita thing going on.  But now that it's done I'm thinking maybe...azalea or alluring....


 B...This is one of the better hidden letters.  If you didn't know that this was an alphabet book you'd probably never notice the "b" on her bra.  "B" could stand for bra...beautiful...breathing...brazen...and if you read the text around the image: bird!


 C...When I thought of the "c," the first thing that popped into my head was the Chanel logo.  I thought about doing a purse or a little Chanel coat, but the logo on the side of the sunglasses just seemed so right, not to, cold, and chic!


D...This was the first letter lady that I drew.  I drew the "d" and then suddenly there was a head underneath it!  So I just kind of went with it and when my diva was done, I knew I had to keep going!


E...I am a wee bit obsessed with earrings.  So it seemed only natural to create around the idea of an earring. I tried to tie in the background with the "e" as well.  I thought the rays created a sense of energy or eagerness. 

L-sm (face and hair)...lonely...this girl embodies her letter in a lot of different ways.  She's even looking up!


M...This is definitely one of the more sideways-thinking ones.  I was thinking of the word "murderer" and then about those guys who tattoo the tear drops on their faces for each person they've killed.  And this "Bonnie and Clyde" girl just popped out with an "m" on her face instead of a tear drop!  But something about her expression does look kind of mean, doesn't it?  Or maybe menacing?


N...A nervous girl wearing a necklace!  I imagined a story where she was at a big fancy event, maybe a movie premiere or something like that, and a bit nervous about the whole thing.  I also tried to give the effect of a nude face and that her hair is very natural.


 O...Ophelia was the only thing on my mind when I drew this one.


P...purse...Pisces...piranha...pursed lips...pock-marked face...pissed off...perhaps she's pissed because her hair is so dark.  That black is just so darn black.  It looks like a bad wig or something!  But despite the bad wig, I really like this one.  I mean, how cute is that purse?!  Polka dots!


 Q...This one is pretty obvious: Queen!  And it definitely looks like I'm channeling my inner Mary Engelbreit!


 Y...young...yellow...youthful...and I think this is perhaps the best hiden letter.  Unless you're looking for it, that "y" doesn't seem out of place at all!

I like that the faces are a mixture of semi-realistic and totally cartoony.  I like that they're near and far.  I like how the letters are a part of each of the sketches.  I like them as a collection.  In fact, I love my ladies so much, I really don't want to send the pages away!  I knew this would happen...but nonetheless they're going into the mail this week!

In case you're wondering, I used a .01 Sakura Pigma Micron and my trusty Koi tube watercolors to create all these lovely ladies.  They're just watercolor and pen.

Thanks for stopping by!