A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine, Heather, asked if I had time to meet for lunch. We picked a time and met at one of the many taquiera sprouting up here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Normally we get together two or three times a year as an excuse to eat tacos and commiserate about the ups and downs of working in the design field. Nice person that she is, Heather always has a small gift for me. Something from the garden, or a sample of a new recipe she’s working on. (Manors-wise, I could learn a lot from Heather.) This time though, she had a much bigger surprise in store for me.
After settling in, the small talk gave way to her saying she had a gift for me. Big surprise. From her bag she hands me a small Field Notes-sized notebook. She says, “I found this for you online… recognize it?” I look at it closer, and it’s a Field Notes all right, but there is the weird art all over the cover. It finally hits me; “Shit! That’s my Draplin poster!”
I had heard about this special edition when they came out, but didn’t pay that much attention to it. I buy Field Notes to use them as I need them. My personal favorite is the County Fair edition and I only get Indiana, of course. Never in my wildest imagination did I think one of my posters would get chopped up and recycled as a cover for a Field Notes. I also wan’t prepared for the frankly, incredible story of how I came to be holding this little beauty.
Apparently there is a Facebook Group called Field Nuts, of which she is a member. These people like to collect, trade, and talk about anything Field Notes. The intensity of their dedication is both impressive and a little scary. Anyway, as she was scrolling through her feed one day she sees a Field Note cover she recognizes, but isn’t sure why she recognizes it. Looking at it closer she sees it’s a section of the “DDCvs.FTW” poster I illustrated.
DDCvs.FTW was my friend Ron’s idea. He started a KickStarter and got Aaron Draplin to come to Fort Wayne and give his talk for us. Graciously, he let me do all the associated artwork.
At this point Heather makes it her mission to get me one of these Field Notes made from my poster. I don’t know how long this took her (to be honest, I’m not sure I want to know), but she told me she contacted everybody she could find in the Field Nuts Facebook Group that had one to see if they would give, trade, or sell it to her. Nobody would budge. They all wanted them for themselves. How flattering.
Finally, Heather found Michelle. Michelle had the Field Notes you see pictured in this post. After what I am sure was some very serious negotiations, Michelle agreed to give (GIVE!) the Field Notes to Heather so I could have it. Before she did that though, Michelle took it to another event Draplin was having near her and got him to autograph it! Michelle, if you are reading this, you are awesome!
All Michelle asked is that I draw on a blank one and send it back to her. After my head stopped reeling from how all this came together, I sat down and began to think of what the hell I could draw for her. I kicked around a few ideas then settled on something that featured Aaron Draplin. I don’t know why (one too many whiskey’s?) but the image of Draplin in some DDC swim trunks, taking a dip in the Grand Traverse Bay (Traverse City is his home town) while in a Gary floaty (his dog, famously immortalized in his talks) sounded perfect.
I did a few warm up sketches because I literally never draw any more. Seriously, my 3-year old daughter draws more than I do. After I had things blocked they way I wanted, I started in on the Field Notes cover, desperately wanting a cmnd+z function. Over the course of a few nights and mornings the marker line drawing took shape. I did the entire thing with an official Field Notes pencil and a Micron 08, if you were wondering.
Over all I’m pretty happy with the final result. I had a great time doing this surprise side-project and it has definitely rekindled my desire to draw and sketch more.
A huge thanks again to Heather and Michelle for getting this thing into my grubby paws (as Draplin would say.) You guys are the best.