He’s one of the most famous, if not the most famous artists across the world, certainly on the street art front, but even the great Banksy had to start drawing somewhere, on something, in something. Probably in his school books, during a rather uneventful double maths class, or indeed even younger still with crayon on the kitchen wall, though his work was probably somewhat less political at the age of 3.
That’s just one master creative reference point, and to be clear, Banksy has nothing to do with this absolutely EXCELLENT series of journals from the good folk over at Laurence King Publishing Ltd and the creative/curative talents of Studio Rarekind who are responsible for the ‘Stickerbomb’ series, which are basically fantastic collectable sketchbooks. Each of the latest three has a central theme, Graffiti, Creatures and Galaxy, all beautifully illustrated by various outstanding global creatives, this time in the guise of DABS1.YIA, iloobia and Haniboi respectively.
They each include a generous set of full colour illustrated stickers by said artists, so rather than that daunting moment every creative faces regularly with the glaringly clean but VERY blank page, you can instantly crack that frozen creative block by slapping down a sticker or two (there’s over 100 supplied) to take that first step into the artistic dimension, or maybe just customise the cover. These journals are a very nice and comfortable 207 x 150mm with a quality paper and a very hand pouch inside the back cover for the stickers and whatever else you like.
My main trade in the world is as an Art Director (aspiring painter), so I completely understand the daily value of journals. I’m not in the Bansky league (just yet), but I too spent many a moment ‘rearranging’ images in my school geography books, which I didn’t realise at the time were the first biro lines in a lifetime of creating. I keep a lot of them on the go at any given time as you will never know when an idea will explode into your inner virtual workshop, unfortunately for me it’s generally around 1:30am, so I have to keep one by my bedside, because you are not going to remember it the next day otherwise. See these sparks as fleeting gifts, that if nourished can make a fire, to cook a dinner, to dine. Otherwise you’ll just be cold, hungry and in the creative dark. Also the habit of making constant marks, drawings or writing not only brings a beautiful, tranquil and relaxing almost mediation to a constantly chaotic/noisy world, whilst the simple act of creating soon triggers a chain reaction of ideas exploding like fireworks (thus my many notebooks).
Another great thing about the series is that all creatives start out emulating other artists that they love, so on a wonderfully simple level, any burgeoning young talent could use the supplied artwork as devices to copy, getting the relationship of hand and brain to start working together, which isn’t always the case, even when you’ve been doing it for decades.
I’m very fortunate to work in the environment that I do, as you become one of those folk who doesn’t actually hate their job (least most of the time), so the nurturing aspect of this series rings very true to me. To gift them to a young person is effectively to inspire a potential future, but a realistic one dependant of their own talent, craft and graft. You could be igniting the creation of the next greatest ever superhero character, the next J.K Rowling, street artist, fashion designer or engineer that solves global warming, it all starts with a moment and a blank page. Just make sure they have the blank page handy.
And they don’t even have to have a career in the arts, just having a creative outlet is the perfect solution, distratction and antidote to a stressful day. Another added benefit is that Laurence King and Studio Rarekind are effectively (and hopefully) developing the artists/creatives that they will be covering in their books in years to come. Now that is really a gift that keeps on giving.