Lost sketch book returned to former Disney animator

A local artist’s sketchbook has been returned to him after he lost it 36 years ago in New Jersey.

It all started in 1983, when artist Thomas Thorspecken was 21 years old and he decided to hit the road. 

“I literally found a bicycle for $5 from an ad in the newspaper and that's what I went with,” he said.

He planned to bike and camp across America, from New Jersey to Washington state. 

Among his supplies, the future Disney artist packed a sketchbook. 

“Most of it was a journal,” he said. “Apparently the first day of the trip it just bounced off the bike.”

A couple in New Jersey found it on the side of the road, took it home and boxed it up. 

Now, 36 years later, they tracked Thorspecken down and got it back to him. 

“Out of the blue, someone contacted me by email and said I was going through boxes in the house and found your sketchbook,” the artist said. 

They mailed it back to him.

Now on Thorspecken's desk, he says the book represents hope. 

“Go about your day and keep creating. That's what I've been doing since.”

He went on to work on such Disney films as Pocahontas and The Lion King, and now teaches art. 

He says he can't wait to finish filling the sketchbook's pages.

“Someone suggested that - bring this on trips,” Thorspecken said. “I think that's probably what I'm gonna do.”