Peek Inside… Gerson’s Sketchbooks and Journals (Part One)

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In this special double edition of “Peek Inside…” we are getting to know Gerson Petit, a multitalented young man with a passion for classic art. He also writes for his university newspaper, the Collegian. Over the next couple days, we will be taking a look at Gerson’s sketchbooks and journals as we delve into his creative mind. Be sure to follow Gerson on Instagram for more – @le_petitprince24!

“I use a Lindau Grande journal as my sketchbook. I absolutely love the details on the cover. The beauty and intricacy of this journal inspire me to create beautiful art.” – Gerson Petit

A Little Bit about Gerson

My name is Gerson Petit, and I’m 19 years old. I’m from Lima, the capital city of Peru, but I’m currently studying English at a university in the United States. I’ve been to France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, and the US.

I’m passionate about literature and writing, especially poetry. I also enjoy journaling. I believe it’s an art form we as a society must revive.

Medieval and Renaissance literature hold a special place in my heart. Although I love older literature, one of my favorite books is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I also love anything Oscar Wilde. It’s not surprising I own two Embellished Manuscript journals featuring both of those authors.

I’m passionate about languages. I speak three: Spanish, English, and French. Spanish is my native language. English I learned at school from a very tender age. And French I learned much later. It has become my favorite language out of the three.

Although I don’t practice dance due to a knee problem, I do love and appreciate it. Baroque dances, ballet, and marinera, a Peruvian traditional dance, are among my favorites.

My favorite quote would probably be this line in The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Gerson’s Art

This piece is called L’Amour: Oiseau Rebelle (Love: Rebellious Bird).

I had the chance to go see the opera Carmen at the Grand National Theatre of Peru in Lima. Like most people, I had heard the tune of Carmen’s most famous aria, “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle.” But when I saw and heard it in person, I was mesmerized by the singing and acting.

After the performance, I knew I wanted to draw something inspired on the idea of love being like a rebellious bird that nobody can tame. So I decided to draw an actual bird, an Australian bird of paradise in this case.

Love, even though a common feeling, continues to seem exotic and beautiful to me. Love is rich and colorful, like the drawing. It is multifaceted, and it has many stories to tell. And like a bird, it can fly away, unpredictable and free.


I call this piece my baroque archangel with a twist. It’s got a very special place in my heart. I’m from the country of Peru in South America, but I’m presently studying in the U.S. The model is taken from a recurring theme in Peruvian colonial art depicting archangels in baroque Spanish garb. What fascinates me is the syncretism of European artistic techniques and indigenous Peruvian motifs. Indigenous artists associated the archangels of Catholic tradition with the Inca lightning god, Illapa, because of the booming sound these ancient muskets produced. Thus was born the theme of archangels with arquebuses.

My first year studying abroad was very challenging, especially on the homesickness front. I missed Peruvian culture and art. So I decided to honor my cultural heritage with an art piece that would capture the essence of the archangels theme but with a modern twist. These paintings are normally very dark, but I wanted to make mine very colorful and vibrant, with mosaic-like patterns for the archangel’s clothes and hat. My previous drawings in this style haven’t had any clear organization, but in this one I decided to use specific color schemes and patterns for the different parts of the drawing. The golden dots add to the sense of texture in the clothes and wings.


This piece is called Metamorphosis of Dance. I drew it as an homage to dance. Dance, especially ballet, has fascinated me since a very tender age. It’s a different kind of art form, a fluid art. I greatly appreciate dancers for the effort and dedication they put into their craft.

In this piece, I attempted to capture what I think is the most sublime moment in dance, the moment when the dancer jumps and becomes one with his art. The color scheme goes from cooler to warmer from left to right, transforming the dancer into a living, moving being.

Through this piece I also wanted to convey the transformative power of art. Art can change people for good. Art transforms what is rough and ugly into what is polished and beautiful.


This is definitely a more abstract piece, titled Cornucopia of Chaos.

The colors and figures within the main figure contribute to the feel of chaos of the piece. Colors clash. Eyes appear in the midst of a spiral column. Even faces look inwardly and outwardly, reflecting the multiple attitudes human beings have towards chaos in their lives.

When I drew this piece, I felt my inner life was chaotic. I had many unanswered questions, and uncertainty was ever-present. So I decided to explore chaos in a creative way, and I came up with this visual representation of it.


This is a costume design for the god Apollo in the French baroque opera Phaëton. The original colors were very pale. I felt like they weren’t strong enough for such an incredible costume and character. So instead of white and pale sky blue, I used darker blue for the fabric and sky blue for the details. Gold is ubiquitous in this drawing. I love the color gold because of its radiance and richness. Here I alternated between two kinds of gold, a bright yellowish one, and a sober tone of gold – almost bronze.

I drew this because I’m very interested in fashion illustration and baroque opera. During the baroque period, costume designers created incredible, over-the-top pieces, and quite frankly, I love over-the-top art if it’s well done. I gave the model huge feathers in lieu of a head to make him anonymous. Because sometimes too, we humans lose our heads.


This drawing entitled My Heart is Broken has an interesting story. One night, my neighborhood had a blackout. As I was sitting at my desk thinking about what to do to entertain myself, I took a micron pen and started drawing. I didn’t know what I was going to draw, but I kept going nonetheless. That’s actually how I often do art. I let imagination lead my hand, and things like this piece are often the result.

This piece is composed of two images in one. To the left, a bird is trying to fly away, its wings and tail extending all the way across the page and down. To the right, a person, arms extended, is letting go of a small bird. I drew this piece because I needed to let go of my pain and resentment visually. Like the bird to the left flying away, so does the person let go of the pain and brokenness of their heart by letting go of the small bird. By doing so, they are set free.

The style is very particular. I drew this piece shortly after a trip to Mexico City. Its beauty and monumentality fascinated me, and I think I unconsciously recreated some of the features of Pre-Hispanic Mexican art in my drawing.

Read Part Two here.


Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.

About Paperblanks: 25 years ago, we created Paperblanks to help keep book heritage alive and vital in our modern age, and to offer an inspiring space for people to express themselves. Thanks for joining us on this journey! For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.

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