Friday, April 19, 2024

Browsing Artbooks & Sketching Images

During our Language Arts conference for high school Black boys, the guys browsed my collection of artbooks and chose images to sketch. I did a version of this session for a different group of guys last fall.

For many years now, I've tried to think of ways to share aspects of my book collections with students. Starting in Back in 2009, I started hosting "browsing sessions" to share the many volumes of poetry I collected with students. Later, I hosted browsing sessions focusing on comic books, and then more recently, I acquired enough artbooks to feature those. 

The artbooks gave me a chance to add a new dimension to the project. In 2022, I worked with one of my former professors, William Harris, on a project. I always knew he frequently visited museums to view art. What I learned, though, was that he often took a notebook to the shows and produced sketches of what he saw. 

Thinking about what he did led me to create browsing and sketching sessions. The students viewed African artbooks as well as books featuring art by Jacob Lawrence, Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald, Kerry James Marshall, and Bisa Butler. 

Browsing exposed the students to a variety of ideas, and drawing gave them an opportunity to participate in a hands-on activity. Early on, the guys are really talkative, but after a while, the room gets quiet as they get really serious about sketching images. 


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