You've seen these type of photo slideshows in many news websites: Day in Pictures (BBC), 24horas...24fotos (El Mundo), In Pictures (The Guardian), Imagems do Dia (Globo.com).
They are a roundup of the day's news in photographs. They show life at its worst: schools destroyed by tornados, gun-toting fighters in war-torned countries and hungry children in the Thirld World. They also show scenes of joy and peace: colorful parades, cheering concertgoers, a bird drinking from a fountain.
For a long time, I've been wondering if a similar report of current events could be published with sketches. I'm talking about drawings made by artists who witnessed and sketched those same scenes we are only used to seeing in photographs. I'm starting this project to see if that's possible.
I think it can work if more artists around the world turn their attention to newsworthy subject matter. Many are already doing it. Take Samantha Zaza, for example. She documented protests in Taksim Square in Istanbul with storytelling sketches. Or Veronica Lawlor, who reported about a huge luxury development on Manhattan's west side in words and pictures. Or Mike Daikubara, who brought his sketchbook to a Rolling Stones concert in Boston and captured the scene.
Why make sketches when we already see the news in photos?
Hand-drawn sketches offer a very personal take on a scene — you'll never see two identical sketches. Artwork also speaks to the viewer in a different way. You aren't seeing reality per se, but how the artist chose to interpret what he witnessed. This type of journalistic drawing isn't new. The illustrated newspapers of the 19th century employed special artists who were sent out on assignments to capture news events in pen and paper. Their rough sketches were later recreated as illustrations and engravings for publication. The tradition of on-location sketching, also known as reportage, continued in the second half of the 20th century with the work of many artists and illustrators, including Franklin McMahon, Howard Brodie, Ronald Searle, Paul Hogarth, Robert Weaver and Shel Silverstein. Even today, media relies in courtroom artists to document trials whenever cameras are not allowed.
What is the criteria for the selection of sketches?
My goal with TWIS is to publish a roundup of timely worldwide sketches every week. To curate the slideshow, I will follow these criteria:
- Timeliness: I'd like to include sketches drawn from life in the last seven days, but this may be tough at first. If I can't find optimum sketches drawn within that time frame, I'll aim for the most recent drawings available.
- News value: I'll be seeking sketches that reflect subjects of special interest or importance.
- Geographic and cultural diversity: I want the sketches to take me to places I've never been and introduce me to cultures I know little about.
Can I submit a sketch?
Yes, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submitting a sketch doesn't mean I'll get to include it in the slideshow but it'll sure be nice to see your work and meet a fellow artist! You can also email me if you'd like to join the group of artists whose work I monitor on a daily basis as I make selections for the slideshow.
June 29, 2013