Beneath the Lantern’s Glow: Introducing the book of travel sketches…and a giveaway!
On my final night in Siem Reap, I walked its dusty streets alone, feeling outside myself.
Neon-lit bridges cast shimmering reflections on the canals below; backpackers and locals alike were beginning to filter into clubs; and on I walked, feeling like I was looking down at the country from above, like I could never understand what it went through, and is still going through.
I walked until I was lost, until I no longer knew from which direction I had come. And that’s when I saw them, glowing red lanterns strung one after another down a dark and narrow alley. I followed the lanterns until the end, where I sat on a swinging bench and pulled out my sketchbook.
By this point in my journey around Southeast Asia, lanterns had become a kind of motif – from those in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown to the large red lanterns sat outside Japanese temples – so much so that I had already decided on the title for this collection of travel sketches and sketch stories: Beneath the Lantern’s Glow. And when I sat on the swing that night in Siem Reap and looked up, I knew instantly that I was looking at this book’s cover.
There was a single round lantern directly above my head, floating over two banana trees and a yellow bicycle: each a fitting symbol of my six weeks in the region. On a night when I’d felt entirely disconnected from the city, I was suddenly right where I needed to be.
I was beneath the lantern’s glow.
* * *
It’s crazy now to think that almost four months ago to the day, I first got the idea to sketch my way around Southeast Asia and Japan. Crazy only because of how much this project has evolved from what it was at the beginning, and from what I expected it to be.
I thought I would try and get a couple of sponsors (which didn’t happen); I thought I would publish three sketch posts a week (which sometimes happened); and I thought I would put together an eBook (which will happen…eventually!).
What I didn’t expect to happen was that I would spend several weeks following the journey’s end putting together an actual, physical book of 20 sketches from the trip – what will now prove to be my first official book (and the above story is even an excerpt from the introduction).
I also didn’t expect to put together an entire line of products inspired by the sketches – products like prints, sets of greeting cards, and even stationery featuring some of my favorite travel quotes.
All of which is to say – don’t ever discount those little seeds of a dream that drop into your head. You never know where they may lead, or what they’ll grow to be. If there’s anything these last four months have taught me, it is that the creative life requires many of the same qualities required in gardening: patience, consistency, dedication, hope.
It’s all about giving our seeds a chance to grow.
* * *
So here we are, six weeks after the trip officially ended.
Proof copies of the book are on their way from Amazon (!!!), cardstock and envelopes have been ordered and re-ordered (who knew figuring out what weight of paper to use would be such a
hellish fun challenge), and I have learned an extraordinary amount about inDesign and PhotoShop in an extraordinarily short time (all thanks to my dear sister Brooke).
And, I am proud to say, the book itself will officially be for sale on Amazon two weeks from today – on Monday, the 8th of July – and the prints and cards will be available on Etsy.
But that’s not all (it never is, right?): To celebrate the upcoming launch, I’ll be giving away two copies of the book to two lucky readers, and each winner will also receive a little mixed media art set by Faber-Castell and a sketchbook (which even says ‘sketch’ on the cover – I couldn’t have designed it better myself).
Because if there’s anything I love more than sketching, it’s seeing other people sketching.
I want to keep the giveaway as simple as possible to enter, so all you need to do is:
- Sign up for my mailing list, either by entering your email on the right sidebar or by clicking on the mailbox sketch below.
- Leave a comment telling me you did so (or if you’re already signed up, let me know that in a comment instead).
So there you have it – now go enter the contest, cross your fingers, and get excited about Beneath the Lantern’s Glow hitting [virtual] bookshelves two weeks from today!