If you want to find some good but easy reading about our world history, I would recommend «A Little History of the World» by E.H. Gombrich. This is my first experience of «binge-reading» a non-fiction book. The book was actually written to make history more interesting and accessible to younger readers. I don’t think that makes it any less good for adults – especially adults like me who does not have a «sticky-brain». I got so excited about it that I had to share it!
Most of the books in our apartment belong to my partner, so for me it´s a small library of undiscovered books. Some days ago I was browsing the bookshelves for non-fictional reading – something to give me «fuel» through knowledge. Already with first impression «A Little History of the World» seemed right up my alley – not too long (285 pages) and not too detailed. Now, I think history is really interesting, but historical facts (and a lot of other factual stuff) can’t seem to stick to my memory properly.
Gombrich is a storyteller. When you start to read you don’t think about learning and remembering – you just get caught up in the stories that become vivid images in your mind. I think his own fascination of history shines through, and he conveys it in a way that makes the reader just as fascinated. The focus is on creating a wholesome understanding of the progression of history and how people have lived, instead of filling the pages with a lot of numbers and names. Sometimes it is very clear that the book is written for younger readers. He often directly engages the reader through repetitions or by asking questions. I liked that, because it made me think back on what I had read.
I wish one of my teachers had told me to read this book in school, because it certainly is more engaging than any history book that we had in our curriculum.
I spent this Christmas for the first time in Bergen. It was rainy, windy and without snow, but it turned out quite good anyway. My partner and I found a branch to decorate as a Christmas tree, an alternative to the traditional spruce because my partner is not a fan 😉 It turned out nice! Though I did miss the smell of spruce on Christmas morning.
I’ve been living in Bergen for 4,5 years now, and I’ve started getting used to the rainy weather wich this city is known for. Even though I haven’t got a rain coat and I hate using umbrellas, I seem to manage. Often I haven’t thought of the fact that it’s been raining for weeks until my parents (living in the eastern part of Norway) tell me – they have seen it on the weather reports. Rain is the natural state of things in Bergen, so you don’t think of it or complain about it a lot.
Still, the winter period here is challenging for me because it feels like a long late-autumn, where all the wonderful colours and smells of autumn are gone and the daylight is getting shorter and shorter. In the eastern part of Norway where I’m from, the winter is more «classic», with snow and cold. Of course winter time is dark there too, but the snow makes it feel a bit brighter. So even though I prefer snow instead of rain, the main problem with «winter» in Bergen is the heavy darkness.
Now a new year has begun, Christmas is behind, and I am already looking forward to the light coming back.
I finished a sketchbook today. It’s a Moleskine sketchbook that I started in the beginning of 2017. First of all, that makes me think I draw too little. But I try to throw away that thought, because it’s not productive anyway. Instead, I think it more interesting to reflect on my relationship to sketchbooks and how I use them.
Sketchbooks in general are like treasuries. I like to think of them as Gringotts Wizarding Bank, only the kept treasures are ideas. Some are kept safe in their vaults for poorer creative times, some are forgotten and when found again they can be polished to shine, and some are best left locked away in the deepest dungeons garded by firebreathing dragons.
I have filled out a few sketchbooks during the last 12 years. They are standing on a shelf beside my work space. Most of them are different from each other, with different formats, binding and paper. To change between different kinds of sketchbooks is something I really enjoy. I think it affects how I relate to them, and following, what I draw or write in them. In addition the variation gives an even stronger feeling of a start on a new journey.
For me a new sketchbook is really exciting, but also a bit scary. The look of a sketchbook affects my expectations. A really nice looking sketchbook makes me feel that the contet should reflect the qualities of the book, and that I shouldn’t use it for trivial notes and stupid doodles. The scariest part is the first page. I see a tendency in several of my sketchbooks that I make greater effort in the start, and then I fall back in the same procedure as always.
Some years back I realised that I didn’t really sketch a lot in my sketchbooks. Instead of drawing the ideas I got, I tended to write them down. Why I’m like this, I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just too lazy? The sketchbooks were also used as notebooks with to-do-lists, lecture notes, plans and everything random. In other words, most of them don’t look very nice! They are far from the beautiful sketchbooks that you see artists posting on Instagram. On the other hand, there is a positive side of this way of using (or misusing, if you like) sketchbooks. The books become a bit like time machines. If I like I can go through them and look back at what was happening in my life at different points. Sometimes I can see parallels between what was going on in my daily life and my ideas and doodles. In other words, the sketchbooks become a documentation of my life, that might be interesting for me on a personal or conceptual level, but not so interesting aesthetically.
I like the Gringotts metaphor as a general illustration of how sketchbooks work as idea banks. But I think I have a better metaphor for my own sketchbooks, that also captures the visual part of them. First I thought, they are like junk yards! But then I found that a little bit too harsh, and I moved to thinking of an Antique shop. That sounded a bit too organized again, but maybe something in between? Then I remembered the thrift store just down the street from where I live in Bergen. It’s messy, with it’s own logic both organized and disorganized, and there’s a lot of crap with the occasional gem here and there. So there you have it!
The sketchbook I now finished marks a small shift in my sketchy story. This was my first fancy Moleskine sketchbook, and I got it from Geir Moen (who I worked for as a part of the practice period in my visual communication bachelor). I thought of the rest of the world making a big deal out of Moleskine, and I thought I could use the book to test myself and set a goal to have it contain mostly drawings. And I have managed it! And there is not one single to-do-list in it! Now, this does not mean I have totally changed my «sketchbook misuse» or how I work with my idea process. I just figured that I need to use two sketchbooks. This has really worked for me. I have one «no pressure»-sketchbook to misuse as much as I like, and one «doodle & draw»-sketchbook (not too much pressure here either). To mark the end, I think it fitting to show the beginning, and here was my first drawing in the now finished Moleskine:
A couple of weeks ago I bought a new sketchbook. I’ve been glancing at it and caressing it from time to time, contemplating what I should expect from it, and myself. I think it will be an even bigger challenge than the Moleskine, because of its format and thickness. It’s quadratic, 25x25cm and 2,5cm thick, so it’s probably going to last for a while. I think I am going to allow more text and scribbling, but the right kind. Wish me luck!
My website has undergone a little make-over lately, and it’s main feature is now my Portfolio. Check it out if you like! Now and then I will probably make some blog posts too.
These days I’m trying to get started with my illustration work. So we’ll see how that goes. I am open for projects and assignments.
You can also follow me on Instagram @lizonmoon. As I pointed out in my last instagram-post, it will from now on only contain my illustration work. My interest of food is now documented on a different account @gulo_gulo__
I started to make these small pencil drawings during the fanzine week. I had a really good time drawing them and I found myself in a flow, completely in my own bubble. I just starting without a plan, except staying within a forest, nature -mystical kind of genre. I printet and bound two editions that I gave away for christmas.
Before christmas we had a course at school where we worked with visual identity. It started as a visual identity for a made up publishing house, but in many ways it became a start of discovering a visual identity I can develop further for my own work. I made a small booklet that showed the process and ideas. I made bookmarks with magnets, and also tried bookbinding for the first time.
PART 1: Illustrating a norwegian folk tale through photos
PART 2: Playing with the use of objects, staging of objects and a personal system of symbols. In many ways inspired by still life and surrealism. I am not sure if the pictures illustrate the poems, the poems illustrate the pictures, or that the pictures are a sort of continuation of the poems? Anyways the poems are written by me mainly through the method of automatic writing, as some surrealist sometimes used themselves.