Artzine, Jen Pilles, email@example.com, jenpilles.com, $2
If drawing is one of the tools in someone’s coping toolbox, it feels a little weird to review the end product. In her intro to Sketchbag, Jen Gilles does say, “This world is crazy. Drawing is one of the tools I use to make sense of it all.” So I’ll take this for what it is, and recommend you do, too. This quarter-sized 30-pager has selections from Jen’s 2013 sketchbook: bus or subway people-watching scenes, friends hanging out, imaginary creatures, dinosaur and dog skeletons, and what-have-you. As you would expect from a
sketchbook, they’re all lightly and quickly done, some left as pencil-only, others finished in ink. Most of Jen’s sketches look like still life studies with solid, realist representation.
Other sketches skew to comics style, with human characters taking on a cartoonish look. Given Jen’s intro, I was able to acknowledge that whatever imaginative or real life scene she was sketching, she was considering it intensely and making sense of it (or something related to it). As sketches are usually for the private consideration and development of the artist, Sketchbag and other zines like it show the vulnerability of sharing. Sketchbag should be taken in and appreciated on those terms. (Joshua Barton)