The Writing's on the Wall

The Writing's on the Wall

New York-based designer Sherwood Forlee, through Quirk Books, has produced the Walls Notebook, where everything you write is an act of graffiti. Forlee describes it as "a notebook / sketchbook with pictures of 'clean' New York City walls as the backdrop of each page. Write on, draw on, and even paste onto the walls to create works of street art without being pummelled by the police or serving unwanted community service." The idea might sound like a gimmick, but the end result is actually quite cool.

Opening it for a look you find 160 pages of New York geography, from white-brick walls to subway cars, restaurant doors to alleys. Treated simply as a book of photography, the journal is already impressive, offering a visually interesting journey through the very stuff that makes the city. New York becomes a labyrinth of walls and doorways through which we can wander for days.

Are you from New York? Then flip through and see if you recognize any of these places; maybe that's an alley near you, or a wall you've walked past for years without notice. It's like a game of architectural Memory. Not from New York? Doesn't matter—take a look, anyway, and draw little aliens all over the cinder blocks of a midtown warehouse, scribble on garage doors, add vines to air-conditioning units, write obscenities on what might be a waffle-delivery van.

It's the ultimate doodler's companion: printed on ink-friendly uncoated pages and giving you something to look at before you draw (or write—it also makes for an awesome journal).

There is a somewhat unhelpful interactive website to go along with the book—but I'd skip that and just grab a copy of the book itself.

Until then, here are some sample spreads—both pre- and post-graffiti:


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