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Her book is all over Seattle bookstores right now..but somehow this born-and-raised Seattleite missed the Seattle Walk Report until now. I was going to (and still plan to) mention it in an upcoming post about some books that are inspiring me to start sketching again (or ate least contemplate doing so.) However, I couldnt’ wait, so here’s a review.
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On PNW & Beyond, I’ve long thought of doing posts on a series of walks (and still might do so.) So when I saw the friendly black and yellow cover of the Seattle Walk Report — one of the few new books among the many at a local bookstore — I snapped it up. On checking out, the man at the counter told me of the author, “she had a blog and got big.”
On my ferry ride home, I fell in love with the book. “An Illustrated Walking Tour Through 23 Seattle Neighborhoods,” is the book’s subtitle, but author Susanna Ryan’s whimsical cartoons don’t lead the reader through a step-by-step tour of each neighborhood. Instead, they illustrate the various (and sometimes random) things that one might find in that area. From Instagram posers at the gum wall to the fire hydrants of Phinney Ridge, the illustrations are funny and instantly recognizable to locals.
The next day, I decided to look up this Seattle Walk Reports’ blog and found that it wasn’t a blog, per se, but an Instagram account.
Her drawings here are like the ones in the book –black and white cartoons, and each is an Instagram-sized square of Seattle goodness (and sometimes badness.) You can see a definite progression in style looking from her earliest drawings to more recent entries.
Some of my favorites?
- I literally died waiting for the Route 8. I grew up taking the bus all over Seattle instead of being chauffeured around, so I can commiserate.
- Seattle Memories: A Venn Diagram. I, too, remember Sunset Bowl, watching fireworks over Greenlake on the 4th and some of the other ones.
- Seattle Merit Badges. I’ve earned most of these!
Ryan, who works for the Seattle Public Library, started doing these Instagram cartoons in 2017. In her book, she points out that she hasn’t always taken long walks but comes “from a long line of people more likely to break world records in Tetris than in team sports.”
Years ago, I wrote a blog I subtitled, “One Woman’s Search for Everything Here and Now and In her Own Backyard,” (a take on the subtitle for Eat, Pray, Love.) It was a response to my own need to learn to find magic in the present, the everyday, and the local at a time in my life that seemed to prevent wanderlust from expressing itself. So I can relate to Ryan’s trying to find delight in the little things — from a carrot with a straw through it on Capitol Hill to the Lost Socks of the Chinatown-International District — and her realization that she, “didn’t need money, or a car, or a week off from work to see new and fabulous things.”
Here’s Ryan talking about just that in a video from CreativeMornings HQ: