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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Support Your Local Writer (Artist ... Bookstore ...)

Two magazines and an art book in my bag, I settled in with Lylah at the Barnes & Noble cafe to quaff coffee and draw. Such a pleasure to be with the baby of the family (OK, she's 18 now), and with the best leather sketchbook on the planet. Perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much.

But, still: distress. To my right was a couple who sat for at least an hour, he with a Clive Cussler novel from the stacks, she with a book titled simply "Vinegar." It was a small hardcover from the remainders table. They read and they read and they read. I hoped I'd see them eventually rise and get in line to pay, and I think he indeed might've bought the Cussler, while "Vinegar" was left behind, almost entirely read, from what I could see, along with a bride magazine. (Sidebar: She was 65 if she was a day, but perhaps there was a daughter or granddaughter looking forward to nuptials.)

Worse yet: behind Lylah sat the woman you see above, taking cookbooks and cooking magazines from the stacks and copying recipes into her notebook.

This practice of devouring the contents of books and magazines at the Barnes & Noble Cafe, then declining to buy, is so rampant that it's almost not worth noting. Perhaps the corporate execs have done the math and found the economics to be somehow defendable.

Here's what I know. The bookstore clerk I vented to about this noted that B&N sells 40 percent fewer magazine titles today than 10 years ago. Magazines are dying. (Though we like them, don't we? I do.) Bookstores are dying. Employment for writers is nosediving.

Yet somehow we think that because it's legal to "borrow" content from a store this way, it's also defendable to do so.

Do you like art and music and literature? I say support it. Pay for it as if someone you cared about was trying to making a living off of it. Someone probably is.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

And then sometimes ...

Raise your hand if it's all gone according to plan.

I didn't think so ...

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Good Cheer, Inspiration and Comic-Con

Please take a gander at some work done by some of the fine artists who participated in my drawing-journal workshop today at Lake Erie Ink. The youngest participant was 3. The oldest was 19. Pardon the iPhone quick-snaps here. While the photo quality stinks, I think we can agree that the art itself is transportive.

Each student pulled an object from a box of stuff I brought. This one had a little statue of Nelson Mandela. The nose had broken during transport from South Africa. I like the way the artist had fun with that in the text.

This is one of my favorites. This young artist didn't even know how to begin drawing the weird little book light she got from the box of stuff to draw. But she eventually figured out how to finish it -- then wrote about it. She was a sweetie.

If you're drawing a dachshund, it should have a pointy snout. If you're drawing a dachshund salt shaker, it might have a flat nose where it meets up magnetically with the dachshund pepper shaker. Bravo to this artist for drawing what she saw, not what she thought should be there.

One carved wooden dolphin, many angles. This artist played with views and perspectives.

If only you could see the precious 6-year-old who did this. But I think you CAN see that he already has a sophisticated eye. (And, translating his message, he writes in the voice of the glasses: "I am giant. I go on people. My name is Sunny."

The artist who made this page let her imagination go. Her inspiration was an old troll doll with the fuzzy hair. She turned it into someone else entirely. Bravo for imagination!

All the young artists promised to keep drawing in their sketchbooks, and I believe they will because they were so enthusiastic during the workshop itself. So how 'bout you? Are you keeping up your sketchbook habits? Go get a pencil...