Saturday, July 16, 2016
Drawing progress report 4 -- daily art
I've told you about several of the routines that I've adopted this year in my attempt to overcome my lifelong terror of drawing, and what I've learned (or not). Besides the positive learnings, I've learned something very important in the negative, namely that I don't really want to master realistic drawings.
When I decided to confront drawing head-on, I had several objectives. I wanted to learn about the various drawing tools -- pencil, charcoal, pen, brush -- and how they worked. I wanted to figure out which of those tools I liked, and which were giving me marks that I was proud of. Eventually I want to develop a repertoire of drawing approaches that I could use in my actual art practice, not just in my sketchbooks.
My daily art started out as miscellaneous subjects. Every day I'd have to find something to draw; often a small object or piece of fruit that happened to be on the table, or something I drew from a YouTube video, or a random doodle. Some days turned out better than others, but every day I had two challenges: first, finding a subject, and second, actually drawing it.
I knew this would happen. I've been doing daily art for 15 of the last 16 years and I know that when you start with a new set of rules it takes a while to get into the groove. It took me longer to get into this groove than it has in past years, but toward the beginning of May, after my drawing class had ended, I found myself doing some mental evaluation, and came to several realizations:
1. My most important tool in realistic drawing was probably my eraser.
2. I didn't want to be an artist whose most important tool was an eraser.
3. While it might be fun to draw bananas or scissors now and then in my sketchbook, there was no way that I was ever going to incorporate them into my actual art practice.
4. I love to work in ink, especially the very finest of pens. I like the fact that you have to live with the line you draw (see realization #2). I love working with a dip pen and liquid ink, but it's way more efficient to use a Micron pen.
5. My hand is not steady enough to draw perfectly straight or perfectly curved lines, but I love the look of slightly unsteady lines, so I might as well embrace the flaw.
6. I like abstract, doodle-like drawings more than pictures of actual objects, probably because they allow me to make intricate, complicated compositions.
7. I do better when I work in series, exactly what I have been practicing and preaching for years in my quilting practice.
Tomorrow I'll start showing you how those realizations are playing out in my daily drawings. Spoiler alert: I am so delighted with what's happening, I can hardly wait to get up in the morning and get my sketchbook!