In September 2022, SEVEN exhibited sketchbooks in the Leigh Art Trail. The Art Trail also runs a Secret Auction (where artists donate a piece of work and the proceeds go towards running the Art Trail).
For the Secret Auction, SEVEN offered one winner the chance to attend one of our regular creative sessions at Metal. Our winning bidder was Nicky Roach, a local artist and maker.
In the session we began to look at the theme of ‘seasons’, in particular autumn. We worked through some of the processes, we often use to get a sketchbook started. At the end of the session we invited Nicky to come back and share how she’d got on with her sketchbook.
When Nicky returned, we were so delighted with the way she had developed her book…using narrative…characters…objects…even burning pages(!)…all within a 3D format. We thought we have to animate her book to bring this fantastical story to life!
Click below to play/enlarge the stop-frame-animation….Enjoy!
One of the key images that I love about winter is the silhouette of bare trees against the sky. So, as an addition to my winter sketchbook, I’ve created a short stop-frame animation of windy trees, inspired by William Kentridge.
SEVEN visited the William Kentridge exhibition at the RA last November which included a number of short, hand-drawn animations. I thought the simplicity of the animations was really effective and I wanted to try to capture this.
The first step was to draw several trees to illustrate the movement of them blowing in the howling winter winds. Each tree was cut out of card and photographed against my sketchbook, which I used as a background. I then built the animation and added a ‘wintery’ sound clip.
The Brooklyn sketchbook library began in 2006 and is a not-for-profit organisation, based in the US. Their aim is to ‘encourage creative storytelling within a global community’ and currently has over 50,000 sketchbooks from artists from around the globe.
In September 2020 SEVEN agreed that the Brooklyn Sketchbook project would be our next challenge. We duly sent off our payment and received our blank 5″x7″ sketchbooks a few weeks later.
We participated in Vol. 17, which meant our deadline was 15 February 2021. Each submission comes with a new list of suggested themes, that you can use as a starting point, and I was inspired by ‘marks and markers’, which I developed using mark-making techniques.
I chose to combine my theme with reference to Warley Place in Essex, a former Edwardian garden owned by horticulturalist Miss Willmott until 1934. After her death, the house was demolished and the gardens left unattended for several decades. It has been maintained as a nature reserve, by the Essex Wildlife Trust, since the 1970s where it still provides glimpses of its former charm.
When I received my blank sketchbook, I was disappointed in the quality of the paper, which I thought was too thin and wouldn’t stand up well to being painted and collaged onto. So from the start I decided that I would rebind my book using thicker paper.
The first session SEVEN did involved mark-making with inks, which gave me a good foundation to work on. Once I had a selection of inky papers I chose a few and cut them up into long strips. I then glued these strips together to form one long piece and folded it into 18 concertina pages.
NB: If you rebind your sketchbook, the only limitations to consider are that the pages must be the same size, the overall thickness of the sketchbook must be no more than 1″, and the barcode on the backcover must remain visible.
I collaged cyanotype prints, old artwork and scraps of ephemera onto the pages, which I worked into using intuitive mark-making, drawing and painting.
These are some of the finished pages I created:
I thought it would be difficult to send off my sketchbook once I had finished it (you do get very attached to your work!), but I think as I knew this was the outcome all along, I was happy to let it go. Before posting it to Brooklyn I did scan all my pages, so that I have a record. I have also opted for the library to digitize the pages, so they will be available to view on their website anytime.
If you fancy a challenge, I would highly recommend taking part.
SEVEN has had busy year and is showing at the Leigh Art Trail for the third consecutive year at Venue 52: Planet Leasing. We’ll be open late on Thursday 13 June for drinks and nibbles and we’d like to invite you to join us and take a look through our books. This year we have been making our own books and taking inspiration from an artist or art movement.