My brilliant and talented friend Kerri Augenstein asked if I would like to start a collaborative sketchbook with her. I said "YES!" but was a little worried about the idea at first. All that worry disappeared the moment the sketchbook arrived in the mail. First of all, can you ask for a more wonderful gift to arrive? Nope, no way, it was magic in the mailbox. With friends as widely dispersed as mine currently are, thinking of when I might next see them can be a little depressing, but Kerri was right, here she was, right in my hands. Secondly, any worry I had about how my marks would meld with Kerri's, what I would put in the book, what standards I would have to hold myself to in a shared sketchbook, went away as soon as I started drawing. In these pages I was being invited to play.
Kerri started pages that asked me to join in, the first was her dots, which I realized I wanted to continue on as embroidered dots. My second large-ish contribution to my first round with the sketchbook was a quote I illustrated for her and her partner. I realized that drawing out the entire spread I was not inviting collaboration in, but it meant more to me than if I was drawing it in one of my own sketchbooks, because I felt like I was making it as a gift.
I can already see how this exercise will challenge me. I tried to create some pages that invited Kerri in to play, invited her in to interact with shapes I made, lines I drew. Our aesthetic differences are already allowing me to try new things in the book. It requires me to let go of the outcome, enjoy the book for the process, and be glad of the surprises that come with sharing something that is usually so personal. I cannot wait to see how this evolves.
This project, although barely begun, is so fun that I just ordered another sketchbook for me and Christine Valerio to begin!