With two young daughters deeply enjoying art at home and in school, I find myself in the new position of having to look for books that combine art with education. Sometimes these books document the lives of famous artists while showing some of their more well known works. Sometimes I stumble on books that combine travel, education, and art in a unique way to share more than words or pictures on a page, but also an experience. African Diaries: Sketches & Observations, by David G. Derrick, Jr., is one of those books.
Derrick self-published African Diaries, which is comprised of sketches and writings about his trip to Kenya. He uses an amazing array of artistic techniques, from watercolors and chalks to pen and sculpture. It's a very personal look at how he saw not only the wildlife in Africa, but the people as well.
He started in Nairobi, but quickly went beyond the bounds of the teeming third-world capital city. He seems to have found a way to go on safari as much as humanly possible, documenting what he saw and thought through words and pictures.
Visiting the Nairobi National Park, just outside of the city of Nairobi, he watched giraffes in the wild - the Rothschild, Masai, and Reticulated. He says in the book "Watching giraffes in the wild is an experience. They move around slowly and deliberately, their heads moving back and forth as they glide through the tall grass..."
The amazing part for me about Derrick's art is the sense of movement. I'm not an artist by any stretch, but I've come to appreciate the gift some artists have for capturing static art and giving it life. It's not just an unmoving drawing or painting, but somehow it comes alive. You can see that gift in Derrick's work throughout the book.