Why Every Artist Needs ‘Page by Paige’ by Laura Lee Gulledge.
I can honestly say that this is one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read, and is certainly the one to which I have found myself most emotionally attached. I think we should all wear it as in my above sketch.
Here’s my reasoning…
The basic plotline is about a girl trying to fit into a new city, a new year, and a new self. It’s a journey of self-discovery, but not so much of the protagonist, as of the reader. I found Paige’s story hauntingly familiar, from the inability to socialize to hiding her true self for fear of doing something wrong.
I found it a greatly uplifting read, from cover to cover. Being so emotionally connected to the story, and the protagonist, I found that it gave me hope for the happy ending, if you can call it an ending at all… It’s more of a beginning really, or a transition, perhaps even a rite of passage… But whatever it is, it’s wonderful.
The story is split into 9 chapters, each based around one of the rules of Paige’s sketchbook. Personally, I think these rules are perfect for any artist, not just to keep your work up and develop it, but to appease yourself, to get to express your true personality, even if nobody else ever sees it. The last rule is perhaps the most important; certainly it was for me…
#1: no more excuses! Buy a sketchbook and draw a few pages each week.
#2: Draw what you know. If you feel it or see it… DRAW IT!
#3: Shhh… quiet… listen to what’s going on in your head.
I won’t ruin the story by telling you all the rules, because I suggest (nay, demand.) that you read it yourself, to get a true understanding of the rules, and the story. I found them to be well written, in a good order, and easy to adapt to. I plan to start following these rules myself. A few, I already do, but many, like doing things that scare me, I’ll have to work on.
Next, I’d like to address the artwork itself, which is perfectly emotive, with a great style. The beauty of the graphic novel’s artwork is, in my opinion, it’s use of black and white. The chiaroscuro is wondrous indeed, not only in the actual imagery, but in the choice of background colour. Gulledge’s use of shade is well chosen for each page, and the idea held within that page.
I thing some of my favourite pages used town paper pages near the pagefold, and a plain black background around it. But unlike most graphic novels, the imagery isn’t all confined to cells, but is spread across the page, cornered in by the darkness of the background, expanding on top of itself and tracing around the edges of the page. It reads wonderfully as you’re constantly turning the book around to read it. I had great fun trying to read all the little detains that really add depth to the pages and panels. What I think is great about its unique design is that it cannot be reproduced digitally, or at least, not to the same level of beauty as in print.
But I suppose I ought to wrap this all up now, judging by the fact that I’ve just spilled over an A4 page, which is more than most people are willing to read on a screen without burning their eyes out on pixels. But I digress…
As an artistic guide to art, life, and yourself, I truly believe that all artists need to have a copy of this book within reach at all times. Preferably transported as in the sketch above. Go buy it now!
Thanks for listening, and remember Rule #5: Figure out what scares you and DO IT!
The Ringtailed Sly One. ^.^