‘Sketching Stuff: Stories Sketched from Life’ is a book with 282 pages of smiles!
It is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle. and other ebook readers. I chose to purchase and review the paperback version because I have Charlie’s cookbook in that format and I like having them match.
As many of you know, for over three years Charlie has issued daily prompts at Doodlewash.com, and every day he’s published an illustration and essay based on the prompt. No matter the prompt, Charlie weaves in stories of his life, his philosophies and the importance of staying young at heart.
This book is a collection of those essays and illustrations, and there are some new ones, as well! All the essays are light-hearted, encouraging and intended to make you smile. In the section ‘Sketching All the Way’, he explains how he started sketching and the steps he took to make it a daily habit, as well as how he continues to show up every day with these ‘doodlewashes’ and essays.
If you’ve been reading Charlie’s daily essays, you know what to expect from the book. His ‘rambles’ are laced with humor. Although, I have several years on Charlie, when he reminisces about his childhood, much of it is nostalgic for me. While many readers might not be familiar with a specific toy, or have celebrated the kind of event he describes, the feelings and emotions are universal.
There are 180 illustrations. While, the art is better viewed in full color, it translates well to black and white, and that keeps the price of the book down, which is always a good thing. The ebook version does have full color so I may have to buy that version as well.
Many of the illustrations are very small, used to head or end an essay, but there are also half-page and full-page doodlewashes salted through the book.
The book is fairly thick at 282 pages, with a glued binding. The paper is white and the text is clear and easy to read.
The stories are organized into a series of themes: The Journey Begins; Days to Celebrate; Cabinet of Curiosities; Childhood Favorites; When the Music Plays; Those Furry Friends; Laughing When It Hurts; When We Were Kids; Little Life Lessons; Halloween Hijinks; Sketching All the Way; For the Love of Family; and Happy Holiday Moments. There are five to seven essays for each theme.
Sketching Stuff is the kind of book that you can poke at – start at the beginning and read to the end, or just pick up, open at random and start reading. If you don’t have much time to read, you can easily finish an essay while on break, riding the bus or during those rare times when you find yourself with nothing to do. It would make a great coffee table book for a guest room.
I joined Doodlewash about a year and a half ago, and have long meant to read all of these essays. It’s also part of my nightly ritual to read for about half an hour before going to bed, so I love having them collected in a book. I can sign off from the electronics (highly recommended for helping you to sleep), read a ramble or two and head for bed, feeling relaxed and smiling.