The French illustrator Lapin has become known for his sketchbooks. Everywhere he goes, he draws, and on his travels he's documented Japan, New York, Seattle, Mexico, Istanbul, Rome, Vietnam and Paris. Last night saw the publication of his latest limited edition city sketchbook which focuses on Barcelona. At the same time, the Mitte Barcelona gallery opened an exhibition featuring a whole range of Lapin's sketchbooks.
"The Barcelona sketchbook is a selection of all my sketches of Barcelona since the day I moved here. I fell in love with Barcelona at first sight and while I was discovering it through my drawings I also discovered my love of urban sketching," explains Lapin. "It was always a special project that I thought I'd start on one day. And I finally did it, This is the first volume and I hope to continue my Barcelona project publishing one volume a year."
The book will be on sale at select bookstores around the city and at Lapin's website. Meanwhile the exhibition, entitled Cabinet de Curiosits, will be running at Mitte Barcelona until 11 May. It includes a whole array of Lapin's work including his Barcelona sketches and other visual musings - objects, faces, landscapes, buildings, thoughts from his inner travels, and details from the journeys he's made.
His sketching isn't just whimsical either. Villages in the wine regions of France have commissioned him to create sketchbooks that reveal their key features, including Ramatuelle, Saint-milion and Carcassonne. These have been turned into limited edition books that visitors can buy as souvenirs.
All his drawing is done on vintage paper, such as old ledgers and exercise books he finds in fleamarkets. He scans the images in, cleans them up in Photoshop and optimises the colours. After adding 3mm bleed by digitally stretching the paper texture, he lays them out with InDesign and has them printed, usually with an impressive binding and nicely finished hard cover. Each sketchbook he's produced has sold out within a year.
Barcelona is special to Lapin, and the city is now his home. Each day he discovers new things to sketch there. "The city inspires and surprises you every day with a previously unnoticed details," he says.
He continues: "It's not a routine place for me, it always has something new to discover or another angle, a different light or a hidden corner to rediscover. Barcelona is a very important city for architecture, art and design and also it is a city where many cultures come together, but is still so Catalan. All of these elements merging in a small city where you have the sea and the everyday sunlight is quite provocative to draw. And I wanted this book to be a very personal promenade, far away from the tourist route."