I’m finally finished with this piece. It’s taken a minute due to dealing with some health issues but I’m feeling much better now. I have to say this drawing was initially an experiment for me. What interested me in doing this was a curiosity sparked by looking at images of the egret’s white form against the background of a blue sky. I became curious to know if I could make a drawing much in the same way as an silhouette illustration but instead of doing the subject matter in all black like a silhouette, I wondered if I could do the background in all black and leave the subject white. I guess that would be a reverse silhouette, if there’s such a thing. And for the most part that is what I ended up creating. I’m pleased with the end result. There’s some shading to the beak, legs and eye area of the egret along with the tops of the cattails but everything else is just white. I really like the simplicity of this drawing and how I did try to add much detail to it. A former art instructor once told me that I have a habit of trying to add in too many details and that it’s okay to leave things out. It’s like how when you first get into drawing and you try to draw every strand of hair on a person’s head. It’s exhausting and unnecessary. Doing this piece took me back to my early art instruction and reminded me that a drawing doesn’t need to be overly complex in order to be appealing and interesting. You just have to figure out what to leave in and what the drawing can do without. 🙂
Well, I said I was going to make some prints and possibly a journal from my recent “Moon and Stars” mandala drawing, and so I’ve done exactly that. Getting the prints done wasn’t much of a fuss but the journal…that’s a different story. Trying to come up with a decent placement of the design on the cover took a lot of trial and error. At first I went with the whole mandala design on the front cover but I really didn’t like how it appeared, it looked too small and uninteresting. So I went with this idea of spanning the design across the front and back cover, which it turned out, to be far more appealing to me, so I stuck with it. Going into this I figured I would probably have to make this particular journal a little bigger than my pocket journals due to the cover design. It’s 5 x 6.75 where my pocket journals are 3.5 x 5.5, so you can squeeze in a bit more writing with this one. Also with this journal I did something a little different, instead of using blank paper for the inside pages, I went with lined pages. To achieve this I had to dig into some of my old graphic design skills and create a lined page template in Adobe Illustrator. Like my pocket journals, this one also has 32 pages, my little saddle stapler can’t staple more than 20 pages at a time and with cardstock added into that, I have to take out four pages, otherwise the staples get all jammed. So 32 pages is the most I can put in for now. In all the prints and journals came out really well, I even made of few journals for myself. 🙂
My little pocket journal line is gradually growing. Over the past week I made my second set of the three journal items I’ve made so far which I started back in January. This latest one is called the “Maybe Unfold” blank pocket journal set. It’s a two journal set with illustrated cover art reproduced from two drawings I did back in 2018 titled “Maybe” and “Unfold”, hence the title “Maybe Unfold”. I really couldn’t come up with a more snazzy name than that and truthfully, I just like to stick to the titles that I used for the original works. My other journals are the “Buddha Tao” blank pocket journal set and the “Koi” blank pocket journal. I’m striving to see if I can get a line of 10 before the end of the year. If you got any wonderful suggests for cover art ideas feel free to share them in the comments.
On another note, I’m still inking away on my “Moon and Stars” mandala. Actually I’m getting close to finishing. Once I’m finished I plan on making prints and possibly some journals, but that’s if the test runs turn out good. I’ve been a little slow on getting this done partly because it’s really been my stress reliever through these past two months so I haven’t been in much of a hurry to complete it too soon. But I have another mandala to get started on, so I need to go ahead and finish this one up. I don’t like to linger on one piece for too long other wise it just gets harder for me to finish and I don’t like leaving things unfinished.
A few days ago a fellow artist sent me a message on Instagram about a post he had saw that he thought I might be curious to see. In the message was a video clip of a person creating a drawing with an electric stippling pen. I don’t know if anyone has seen these pens (watch video below if you’re curious) but basically they’re an electric charged pen with a nib that rapidly goes up and down while releasing ink onto your drawing surface much in the same way you would use a regular pen in traditional stippling. It looks like a pretty cool, convenient and time saving art tool. But after watching the video, I was reminded of an MIT article that I read about teaching machines how to make art and I couldn’t help but wonder, exactly when and where do we draw the line between convenience and technology and express of the human spirit? As I thought about it more I couldn’t help but feel that the electric stippling pen was like cheating a bit artistically. To me, it’s akin to you grandma baking buttermilk biscuits from scratch compared to popping open a can of Pillsbury. Okay, maybe that’s comparing apples to oranges, anyways Pillsbury’s Grands are good as hell but I digress. At least with the electric pen, you’re still controlling the movement of the pen, so it’s not like it’s creating a drawing all by itself and you’re also still employing your own imagination to the artwork. But maybe it’s just me that’s haunted by this nagging, creepy feeling that gadgets and machines are taking over our lives and that in the process we’re losing something. What that something is, I can’t really put my finger on it but I’m sure two or three decades from now we’ll start to see reports and research papers coming out pinpointing what it is but it will be too late to correct the course.
Art has always been a form of human expression, so if we’re striving to teach machines how to be creative and make art, something that was once solely a human endeavor, can we still say that it’s art? When you take the humanness out of the equation of creativity is it still creativity or is it just an algorithm mimicking human creativity?
Needless to say, you won’t see me drawing with an electric stippling pen partly because I’m a traditionalist in that respect but also because stippling is my form of meditation that allows my mind and soul to slow down, which in this data driven, high tech, high speed, constantly connected, modern life we’re living, slowing down is something the human spirit sorely needs . And I don’t want some gadget taking that away from me.