There are different breeds of nerd, I myself am a bit of a book nerd. A haven for book nerds can be the local library. I don’t tend to buy books* as I regard my library somewhat as a vast personal bookcase that I don’t have to keep at home, clogging up space.
So imagine my joy at the prospect of making my own book that will go on a road trip across America, finishing up in The Brooklyn Arts Library. My contribution will be similar to the theme that I followed last time – I love making illustrated journals. The Sketchbook Project allows me to indulge this. The great news is that you can take part too! Check out the link – you’ll even find other inspirational projects to join too: Art House Co-op
You can see the start I made on my book below:
This was a stall at the Bristol Harbourside Festival, selling candle powered boats. The stall was fantastic to look at in itself (although the boats were cool), with bunting strung and vintage signage. The vendors got in the spirit and were dressed as pirates. Brilliant.
I was also once told by an art teacher that I should never draw with biro. This picture reminds me that it’s ok to break some rules.
Pencil sketch of people laying on the grass at college green in Bristol, taking a rest from the crowds at the harbourside. The right page shows the Relay Rips and at the bottom, the start of my Gossington Festival drawings.
*Using the term ‘books’ was a bit generic, therefore saying I don’t buy books is not entirely accurate. I have a real vice for buying children’s books. So many in fact, that the combined weight of them all broke my shelf, spewing books all over me and my room. The homicidal shelf (yes it damn near cracked my head open) chose it’s moment in the dead of night, at my most vulnerable. It was the most terrifying wake up call I’d ever had. But that’s another story.
At the risk of having made my last post ‘Ich Bin Ein Hamburger’ too long for my liking, I have a section two for my Hamburg adventure.
I had found myself with some spare time on my own so settled down at one of the outside tables of M&V Bar. Here I drank tea and drew people that walked past and inspired me. Please peruse the fruits of my labour:
I liked how angular this guy’s face was.
This lady made me think of some fly with her sunglasses so huge they almost eclipsed her face.
I’m not so pleased with old man face but I think I caught his life-bothers-me-but-not-as-much-as-your-face-does-right-now expression
I really liked this scruffy trampy dude. He was most interesting to draw and I think came out best!
I was quite impressed how vertical this lady’s hair managed to stay!
It’s a little strange for it to be my final day, I’ll admit I have very mixed feelings about this. Sofia has been successfully keeping me occupied so far which has been good. Yesterday I wrote a list of some places taking part in the Sofia design week and spent a lot of time searching out the galleries, also enjoyed drawing the Russian church for a while. In the evening I went to a couchsurfing meeting and met someone who offered to take me around today, so I’ll be catching them later to see the city with a local.
I have learnt so much being on my travels and feel very grateful for having had the opportunity to do a journey like this. It’s been so interesting, especially starting in Czech Republic which is very ‘western’ and working my way south where the countries seem to get poorer and in more disrepair and the people have less and less faith in the government. But it has been heartening to see that a lot of people have been so welcoming everywhere I’ve been, offering me opportunities to see life as they see it and not sugar coating it for tourists.
Some experiences I will never forget –
- Communist queuing (it took me a couple of times being queue jumped before I cottoned on, at first I thought people were in a group when they stood at the window together and then when one person left and the other just slid right in, I had a ‘hey!’ moment when I realised that standing a polite distance behind does not work here if you want to get served)
- Meeting specific people (one guy whose ex was threatening police action for stalking; making friends with locals who have been so kind to show me around – students in Olomoucs saved my trip there from being horrifically boring – the couch surfers I’ve befriended – the random Romanians I got talking to in Brasov; some of the people who work at hostels have gone out of their way to make your stay as great as they can make it – for example one guy in Budapest used fabric softener in my laundry, never has soft clothes meant so much as when you’re travelling – one woman running the Sibiu hostel was fantastic when I told her about my awkward experience with an over friendly train conductor; the woman whom I met in Krakow and were able to share the Auschwitz experience together)
- That being said, Auschwitz. Horrifyingly fascinating.
- The somewhat thrill seeking Crazy Guides tour of Krakow.
- Catching trains in Romania (scrambling over train tracks and complete lack of platforms)
- Having to learn 6 different languages for ‘do you speak English?’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘cheers!’. Please don’t test me when I come back – I’m afraid I won’t be able to remember them all…
- The fantastic festivals I’ve bumped into, counting 6 in all. The one that stood out most was the Sibiu Theatre festival.
- The hostel in Olomouc. A swimming pool, seriously? But at least everything else has been really nice in comparison. And truth be told, it could have been worse but to me it stood out.
- Having to communicate with people that don’t speak any English at all.
There is someone waiting for the computer and I’m probably over the time limit so will continue later…
Since there was so much hiking the day before, I fancied a day that was a little easier. So staying in the city of Brasov, I went for a walk to the park, where there were stalls selling things from gingerbread to furniture. There was a section full of seats and chess boards with all these men crowded round playing each other, it seemed a really nice way to spend a sunny afternoon. I spotted a building that was mentioned on the map as still having bullet holes preserved from when 1989 protests were being broken up.
Later, in the town square, I was drawing people enjoying the day. A man and woman joined me on the bench, she leaned over to ask what I was doing (I presume that is what she asked, she spoke in Romanian) and once we’d established I was English we eventually got into a conversation about our different cultures. I was interested to see their views of living in Romania, not the shiny lovely bits proffered to tourists. They didn’t seem that optimistic about life in Romania, in fact most people from Romania that I spoke to said they wanted to leave and work in England. The people that I was talking to said that, yes we may have had a revolution, goodbye communism and all that but it’s still the same mindset, it’s still the same people running the show. I asked about the future, the next generation will change things surely? They didn’t think they’d see any changes in their lifetime. We also spoke about religion- they gasped in horror when I said I was an atheist… It seemed so odd to be odd in that respect. And relationships – it seemed a machismo culture. We went for a walk around the base of Mount Tampas, very green and refreshing just outside of the city. I very much enjoyed being in the city next to a wall of trees.