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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Drawing From Memory

On the Glacier National Park vacation, I kept copious notes in my travel journal about the lakes, mountains, history, wildflowers, and hikes. Though I have always wished to be good at drawing (or painting or using pastels), my skill level is rudimentary at best. Still, I tried to draw things from memory, like the view looking down on the lakes from Swiftcurrent Pass.

Allen Say's latest book displays his incredible drawing skills and also demonstrates how the images and people in one's memory can be brought forth and organized to tell a story. In this case, it is his story. I love the format of this book. From the outside, it appears to be a picture book autobiography (though at 63 pages, it stretches the typical page limit). Inside the cover it is a wonderful conglomeration of comics, graphic novel, sketches, photographs, snippets of texts, Japanese characters, historical explanations, and narrative. All those things are woven together in an honest telling of his life story and artistic career.

It could easily be shared with readers in the context of biographies and autobiographies, but I especially look forward to showing them how real-life events so completely influenced his writing and art. Take time to savor this book - and record some of your own memories in words or images.


  1. What's the title, Library Jewel? I'm especially interested because I had the pleasure of taking a week long class from Allen at the Split Rock Lighthouse program in Duluth (close to 20 years ago!). He was a fascinating man.

  2. This is such a beautiful image and a compelling advertisement for Allen Say's new book.

  3. The title, David, is the post's title: DRAWING FROM MEMORY. I think you'd especially like this book since you have a connection with him.