Animation by Katrīna Sadovņikova

Last week, the second zine and small press festival Sābrs was held in Riga, featuring a market and various workshops. The festival is still ongoing, with several exhibitions open to visitors in Riga, and the exhibition The Cloud and the Brick Wall by the illustrator and organiser of Sābrs, Jurijs Tatarkins, has just opened in Jēkabpils. In the Nice Touch column, Jurijs lays out his thinking process and recommends a good notebook.

Nice Touch Editorial July 14, 2023

«One thing I can’t function without is a notebook. I know creative people for whom all thinking processes happen in their heads, and after some time, the artist enters the studio and immediately creates a finished piece. For me, it is important to externalise my thinking process. I start every project by creating mind maps, sketching, and drawing, and then I select or combine the best ideas. I only use digital tools in the final stages of a project. The notebook is also useful for project drafts, sketching from nature, as a diary and planner. Therefore, in rare cases when I don’t have it with me, I feel like I’m without hands (and part of my brain).

I have tried notebooks of various sizes and from different manufacturers, but currently, I have settled on an A5-format Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, which I saw Maija Kurševa use. The notebook has two bookmarks, page numbering, a table of contents, and, most importantly, a back pocket where I can put sticky notes, business cards, and other paper artefacts. It has nice, uncoated paper that is see-through; sometimes the drawings from previous pages overlap and create new compositions.»

As part of the Sābrs programme, the exhibition Lemon Yellow by artist Ciara Quilty–Harper can be seen at the gallery Istaba until July 27. Comics exhibition Stripburger: Thirty Years of Making a Scene at the Kalnciema Kvartāls Gallery is open until August 3, and the exhibition Image Leaves the Page by artist Agnese Čemme is on view at the Ojārs Vācietis Memorial Museum until August 20. Jurijs Tatarkins’ personal exhibition The Cloud and the Brick Wall is open to visitors at the Jēkabpils City Library until August 31. You can follow Jurijs’ creative work on his Instagram account.