Sara Silkwood

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2009

Capstone Advisor

Bob Dacey

Honors Reader

James Ransome

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Visual and Performing Arts

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Book and Paper | Illustration


This collection of work is inspired by a series of trips I took around the state of Alaska. In the project, I combined illustration, design, page layout and various forms of storytelling.

Initially the project started with the idea that I would be creating both an artist’s journal and a separate body of artwork based around my experiences in Alaska. But the project changed and evolved the more I traveled and the more I reflected by painting, writing and designing.

While I was in Alaska, I gathered reference with photographs and sketches, planning to use them to create a book and a series of paintings that captured the feeling of exploration and adventure. All the pictures I took and the paintings I was planning, however, were pointing back to the story that I was telling about my adventure. Every time I thought about the project, reflected on my experiences, and also when I sat down to work on it, I started to think that all of the work was more cohesive when it was viewed together as one unified work. The paintings, or illustrations, would be so much stronger if they were viewed alongside the sketches and narrative, to help draw the viewer into my memory.

About the same time I started thinking about including the paintings with the rest of the sketchbook journal, I was experimenting with gouache, which is an opaque water based medium similar to watercolor. The medium works well on a small scale, and the loose, sketch-like quality I achieved with it flowed naturally with the rest of the sketches in the book. This discovery sealed my decision to include all of the art in one book.

I also wanted to have control over the design of the final journal, and I felt that since I am majoring in illustration, it was important that I work with the design and layout of books, as well as ways to tell stories. I took my reference and what sketches I already had and designed the sketchbook page by page, cover to cover before I painted any of the illustrations, or worked on any more sketches.

I knew while I was working on the pages that seeing the work completed in a book was going to be important to viewing the completed work. I am publishing the book with an Internet company called Lulu, but I also hand bound hardcover copies to keep with the artistic process of the content’s creation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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