Review - "Doodle Daze" by Rina Ayuyang

Rina Ayuyang's 2007 book "Doodle Daze" is a collection of sketchbook drawings curated and composed to create a compelling narrative. The book is described as "sketches + notes" on the title page, and it is that - pages of her charming drawings that have the quick quality of a sketchbook. This makes "Doodle Daze" seem like and actual document of life. It's realist in that these pages and images are real reactions and interpretations of where she was and what she saw. There is no pulling back of the camera to portray the artist doing things. We see them with her.

A book like this - a pile of sketchbook pages - can easily turn into chaos and noise where reading is about seeing the drawings and the sequence could be random. Ayuyang, a practiced cartoonist, delicately and subtly puts the pages in order to make reading the book as pleasurable as looking at the images. At several points in the book, after pages of drawings laced with text, descriptions and bits of story she placed a page with a large quiet image. It's an exhale, punctuation, a milepost. A rhythm is made and the pages begin to work as a whole.

Reading doodle daze is like remembering. The dazed reader floats along the surface of whatever has been captured in drawing. The whole experience of the world isn't there but Ayuyang doesn't promise it to us. Rather than show us things, she tries to recall them with us.

Doodle Daze is available at Ayuyang's website for $3.00US.


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