Drawn & Quarterly has a unique project now available for order. If Found… Please Return to Elise Gravel isn’t a comic or an art book. It’s a reproduction of a sketchbook by a children’s book illustrator, full of colorful, imaginative creatures and doodles that inspire readers to think about what they can create.
Gravel’s introduction calls this “complete nonsense”, but in a way that lets the brain roam free to see what comes out. “I give myself the right to feel, to mess up, to create ugly drawings.” That’s an essential part of the creative process, one that isn’t often highlighted enough, so aspiring artists may not realize that it’s ok to make things that don’t go anywhere.
Gravel really likes silly little monsters, and she gives many of them names and short descriptions to make them more than just pictures. They’re story concepts, and they could be used as jumping-off points for more storytelling. She also takes everyday objects and makes them grumpy or draws microbes or mushrooms or hedgehogs or kiwis or punk bunnies. They’re deceptively simple, because they all have emotion and attitude, which is tricky with such minimal items.
The packaging mimics the notebook idea — it’s got rounded corners, hard covers, and one of those elastic straps on the back cover to keep the book closed. You can see an excerpt of the content at the publisher’s website that includes the most important page in the book, the one headed “Advice” about being an illustrator, emphasizing how you have to just keep drawing.
If Found… Please Return to Elise Gravel is due out June 7, and it can be preordered now from your comic shop with Diamond code APR17 1698. (The publisher provided a review copy.)