Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Tattooed Sailor and His Devoted Artist

What did you do for your summer vacation?

Andre Francois
I’ve always been a watercolor sketcher – partial to Moleskins, Lamy Safaris, Noodler’s Bulletproof black, Winsor Newton watercolors, and the odd bit of ephemera collaged in.  But I’ve never really shared my sketches on this blog… well, except for here and an oil sketch here and there.  For no particular reason – just not taking the time for all the blasted scanning and stitching.

But last spring I stumbled on this inspiration, took an old book that had belonged to my parents, dissected it, and rebound it with watercolor paper – thus making a new book that is part sketchbook and part bawdy, mid-century, French cartoons.  It’s been so much fun to work in and I must share.  If anyone reading this has ever been tempted to make a book or sketch or both, this is a grand adventure.

The original book was The Tattooed Sailor by French cartoonist Andre Francois (1918-2005), published in 1952.  I know Francois drew for some major newspapers and magazines back in the day but his subjects in this book were often artists and so, over the years, I’ve thumbed through The Tattooed Sailor many times and gotten good laughs. My hand-me-down copy was crumbling apart so, without reluctance, I committed it to the project.  I kept some of my favorite cartoons, which now live alongside sketches from our garden, our garage, and our travels.

No need for me to tell you how I re-made the book – I did exactly as I was told.  Shirley Levine of the Paper and Threads blog documented her process perfectly and even referred us to Martha at Trumpetvine Travels for the signature sewing. Both sets of directions are easy to follow. I haven't invested in bookmaking tools - just used what I had on hand and it worked fine.  Many thanks to these ladies for sharing so generously and making my summer!

Et merci aussi a M. Francois.

 My tattered copy of The Tattoed Sailor
Doubleclick any photo to enlarge.

Before glueing the signatures back in, I patched up the spine as best I could and glued a strip of muslin to the inside.  I used Fabriano Artistico 140lb. hot press watercolor paper in the off-white color which is still quite a bit whiter than the pages of the book. But I like it.  Some of the watercolor page edges are torn and some I trimmed with deckle-edged scissors.

I used some funny French-y advertising paper I had on hand for the end papers on both the front and back of the book.

I kept the first page with the original inscription. No clue who Dick was.

Francois's title and mine. :)
Cone Flowers drawn with Noodler's Serano.

Francois's ship is flying under the Texas flag!  And don't you love the Tattooed Sailor?
More sketches and cartoons to come.


Sarah said...

Thrilled to see a post from you, girlfriend! ;-)
Love the title of your new sketch book. Let's meet for coffee or lunch and you can share this fun new obsession. ~ Sarah

Linda Nickles said...

Mitzi, it's good to see you posting again. You've been missed! I am always awed by your interesting projects -- your unique, savvy style is such a joy! I love what you do. Thanks for sharing!!!