With my focus lately on wrapping up the Duckworth revision, I’ve not been posting as many of my drawings, but of course I am still drawing every day. There have been the usual ups and downs: late in October I was doing a lot of work I enjoyed, but more recently I’ve been on a downturn. With writing sliding into the back seat for a few miles, I hope to focus more on drawing through the end of the year. To kick off a little more intensity, I decide to post the best of what I’ve been up to.
I’ve been looking to many sources for inspiration: Downton Abbey, Star Trek, manga, people I see around me, Drawing Tutorials Online (especially the work of June and Alex), and the work of Frank Stockton, Skottie Young and Moebius. There are rendered portraits, original characters in several styles, caracatures….just about anything that struck my fancy. I imagine the ideal would be to be very serious and focused, working through various exercises to gain definite skills and improve where I’m faulty, and I hope that day won’t be far off, but for now, what I want to do is have fun when I draw. And that’s what this work is, the fruit of fun.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; I hope so. I’m trying to learn and so I choose the inspiration I like the best.
(Media: markers, pencil and colored pencils)
Drawings, a few new themes. Re-reading old journals makes me wonder about my younger self…and if 36 years from now, I’ll be wondering about the person doing these drawings and writings now. “…and to think she really thought she knew what she was doing…” Well, Future Self, I really don’t think I know what I’m doing, that’s the whole problem, and always has been. Of course, if I make it to 90, I’ll be entitled to think whatever I like about my current doings. I hope it will still seem interesting to me.
I love these drawings; they were exciting to make. You can see I’m still playing with that Moebius figure from last week, trying to make it a little more my own. Add a sun-halo. One idea leads to another. Bird in a budding magnolia tree, face appearing in my mind, sun hovering over his brow. What does it mean? I suspect we shall see–I’m definitely trying to flesh it out. It’s a change for me to take ideas, images, from my head and try in some way to translate them onto paper. It feels more purposeful than just sketching-to-sketch, aimlessly drawing. I got frustrated with that and sometimes wondered if I really was learning that way. Maybe I was. I don’t know. This feels better, at any rate. I hope it continues.
I drew more for pleasure than learning this week, and very little on any kind of theme. I looked at Moebius, Toppi and Jamie Hewlett a lot. I find it hard to juggle more than one project when I’m working full time, so, while I continue to draw every day, it’s not always anything very exciting. I wanted to try to write more this year, but that means, in limited time, I am drawing less. It’s a balancing act and one, at the moment, I’m not entirely satisfied with. I’ really not complaining though–it was a good week.
What did I do on my summer vacation? I went to visit my sister in the North Country, which involved, as it always does, lots of walking and eating exceptionally well, sitting on Monona Terrace in the sun and just general lazing about, but also a bit of drawing every day. (It helps to visit an artist.) We got up every day late-ish, ate a leisurely breakfast, then drew. I always felt a need to hurry so I could get on with the adventures part of the day, but it was an excellent practice to do the work first. You could go have fun with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in your gut. And when can you better do that than on summer vacation?
A few of the drawings were even interesting:Jamie Hewlett lost in his work and a watercolor inspired by Moebius. Great shading and exciting color–I was inspired. Can you sense a theme here?
The new inking technique, which I’ve been developing all week… I like these. The style is linear, the form structured by the new hatching style, an exploration of deep shadow, but there is also an element of my old, freer scribble.
This one took me two days to complete.
It’s probably better than almost everything I’ve done before, so I can’t put my finger on why I’m not satisfied with it, but I’m not. Perhaps I’m spending too much time looking at the very skilled work that Jamie Hewlett is posting on Instagram these days, or maybe it’s the miles of images by Moebius and Sergio Toppi that I’ve been ingesting lately that make my work look so milky and anemic by comparison. Posting to Twitter is great for its kudos and positivity, which definitely helps to keep me going, but right now, what I need is a crit and that means it may be time to line up a class for the fall. There’s only so much you can learn on your own by reading, imitation and practice.
I think I need a teacher.
And my view is that a living studio you will never find ready-made; it is created from day to day by patient work.–Vincent van Gogh
And it shows perfectly that to get at the real character of things here you must look at them and paint them for a long time….it is not enough to have a certain cleverness. It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.–Vincent van Gogh
I had an amazing drawing day on Saturday, 8 full hours of absorption and concentration and a hell of a lot of fun. The work was something I don’t usually do and a subject I’ve only begun to look at–studying the color, style and layout of Hewlett and Martin’s Tank Girl from the early 90s–which may have contributed to the fun. A little. Tank Girl is just fun all by itself; raunchy, juvenile, gross and violent but funny. Hewlett’s drawing style kept me captivated–granted, not in every panel, which at times seemed hurried or dashed off–but often enough; moments of solid draftsmanship and studiously observed detail beside pure flights of imagination, resulting in something like a movie co-piloted by Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino. How could I not have fun?
But…days like that up the ante, so that on Sunday when I could barely make myself draw, it was really depressing. Reading Vincent on the bus in to work this morning though, made me take another look. Maybe I was able to sustain this working day on Saturday in the same way as someone training as a runner: day by day you go greater distances, even run a race, but can’t expect much the day after an extraordinary run, at least not from a beginner. I hope with time I can have more sustained days of work like that because it seems the only way to get a grip on drawing the way I’d really like to.