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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Place to Play

A sketch from my sandbox

Carlo worked a 10-hour shift the other day. And still, when he got home, what he really wanted was to pull on his tennis shoes and run off for a couple hours of ping-pong at the club. (Yes, there are such clubs, and yes, these are serious table tennis people.)

The kind of day he had would not have inspired a similarly energetic reaction on my part, but in general I get it. Every grownup needs at least one sandbox. The ping-pong table is his.

A funny thing happened the other day during my portfolio critique at the children's book conference. An art director noted that work derived from my sketchbooks was generally better than work created as Illustrations with a capital I. This is not the first time such as an observation has been made, and I am far from the only illustrator with this issue. Years ago, a newspaper colleague was scribbling on a piece of scrap paper in a meeting and, in about 90 seconds, came up with a simple line drawing that became a cover illustration for a story we'd been discussing in that meeting.

For many of us drawn to pens and pencils and such, our sandbox is a sketchbook or the back of an envelope. It's the one place to recapture the freedom of play we found in childhood.

Where is your sandbox?


honey said...

my sandbox is letter writing. it is my place of total concentration on words, their meaning, and on the person to whom i am writing.

my letter writing is always better than my intentional writing. thus, the sandbox of the letter.

Don West said...

Hmmm...I reckon it is my sketchbook too. Though I haven't been stirring the sand much of late.

Nin Andrews said...

Looking at your drawings is one of my sandboxes! I love the colors.