OTTAWA -- During the stay-at-home isolation of COVID-19, many of us have picked up new hobbies or have taken to doing activities we normally wouldn’t do, like baking, gardening, or even going for walks in our own neighbourhood.

“The Great Pause” is a sketchbook that illustrates all of the activities that so many of us have turned to during the pandemic.

Andrea Emery is a professor in the School of Media and Design at Algonquin College and a graphic designer. She used her talents to create the book.

“I think a lot of people could relate to the different illustrations, ” she said. “The sketchbook was filled with a number of illustrations, going through the pandemic and all of the different things that we were doing to fill time.”

Working from home in PJ’s and exploring a neighbourhood by bicycle are just some of the sketches in the book.

“Painting messages of hope, all of the little stones, and thanking our health-care and front-line workers, which is extremely important too,” says Emery.

Emery's sketchbook is part of The Sketchbook Project with the Brooklyn Art Library. The book will be catalogued and put into their permanent collection, and will eventually be available online.

Emery is excited and says the book will also be included in the City of Ottawa’s Archives, as part of a project which documents COVID-19.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling, ” she said “I said to somebody that I felt like it was the closest I was going to get to having my work in a museum.”

Emery originally posted the illustrations to social media, which gained a following.

“I found more and more that people could relate to my illustrations, and then more and more they started to hint at and demand almost that I publish this booklet.”

Selling out the first two hundred books in just three days, she decided to do some good with the second run.

“All the extra money that I made, I donated to High Jinx, which is a local charity that helps our vulnerable neighbours.”

These are illustrations that, no doubt, we’ll look back on one day; something Emery is excited about.

“It feels humbling and it also feels wonderful to be just a little part of history.”

The sketchbook is available on Emery's Etsy Shop.