“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ Unknown
I’m at it again, trying to get into the habit of keeping up with a sketchbook. If you’ve read previous posts before then you’ll know that I’m horrible at this. I have over a dozen half or quarter finished sketchbooks filled with nothing but scribbles…yes, literally scribbles. Not sketches, not doodles but scribbles of indecipherable ideas that amounted to nothing, most of which look like a child had a temper tantrum with a pencil. (Truthfully, most of them are actual temper tantrums.) I have fits in my sketchbook when I can’t get an idea from my imagination out onto paper. People assume that drawing is this calm and relaxing activity that always brings peace and joy. IT’S NOT! It’s painful and excruciating when you have an image in your head that you want to draw but all you can get out is scribbles of circles. So I often just avoid the whole thing altogether. I find it exhausting.
But I’m at it again. I stumbled across the quote above and thought about how I often come across the saying that if you want to get better as an artist you must draw everyday. Confession: I don’t draw everyday. With pointillism, I draw out my image and from there I’m actually inking for two, three, eight, 14 days on one piece depending on the size. So I spend way more time inking than actually drawing. You would think that the inking was the most difficult part with the time consumption and tediousness but for me it’s actually laying out the drawing. I’ll probably have to dig into my own psyche to figure out why it exasperates me so but at the moment all I know is that it does, despite the fact that I really do have a love for lineart. Because of that love I want to get better at it. So I’ve set myself on this journey of cultivating the habit of doing at least one decent line drawing a day, Monday thru Friday, totaling five drawings a week with Saturday and Sunday as make up days if I miss one. As of this week, so far, I’ve gotten three done. They’re not spectacular but as they say practice makes perfect. 😊
I don’t remember exactly when or how I came across Aubrey Beardsley. Bits and pieces of a high school library on a sunny afternoon seem to be the only clues that my memory can conjure up. But I do remember very vividly sitting in my bedroom and feeling proud of the personal copy of “The Climax” that I had just completed. So I can say with certainty that it was sometime during my senior year in high school that I became acquainted with the fella.
If you have been following my posts over the last year then you know I have a love for the simplicity of line drawings and Beardsley is one of those artists who captures that quite well in many of his ink illustrations. Now anyone who has ever been brave enough to have studied his work is aware that it can be a bit bizarre and risque, especially for the times in which he created. I admit, that was part of what I liked about it back then but now a days, nothing is all that risque. Besides his use of ink and lines, Beardsley was most all my gateway artist into the art movement of Art Nouveau. This was a style and movement that even ’til this day still influences my work and ideas about art.
I keep photos of all my art, so every once in a while, after most of them have moved on to new homes, I go through them. There are pictures of pieces I forgot I even did and there are pictures of pieces I sometimes wish I never let go. It’s like walking down memory lane and remembering an old loves, a little bitter, a little sweet.
As I was going through some of my pictures today I noticed that many of the photos are process pics that show the progression of a piece. These are great reminders that show how I’ve evolved over time in my work but also helps me to see where I need some improvement. One of the things I like about keeping process photos is that I have a personal catalog of one aspect of my work that I secretly cherish which is the line art. Line art is basically the line drawing I do before I start adding in the ink. It may not be as appealing as a brightly colored painting but I love it. There’s just something about the simplicity of the line with no color, no solid areas and little shading via cross hatching that just appeals to me. There’s nothing elaborate about it, just pencil, paper and lines. It’s what I like about comic panels before they’re handed off to the inker. It’s what I like about tattoo designs before they’re placed upon a canvas of skin. It’s what I liked about animation before computers came along and the sketchbooks of concept artists before ideas are given to the CG designers.
Whenever I start inking a drawing I always feel like I’m mucking it up and it takes me getting halfway through before I stop feeling that way. Once the colors and shapes start to come together that voice inside my head finally stops screaming “OH NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU’RE RUINING IT!!!” A part of me just feels I should just stop at the line drawing and leave the work unfinished and sometimes I wish I could but ink eventually beckons me and not before long I’m tap tap tapping away with little dots.
Here are some line drawings I’ve done in the past that are my favorites. Maybe one day I could create my own coloring book.That would probably give me a perfect excuse to leave my drawings unfinished. 😊
It’s been a peaceful day. Got up early and repotted my jalapeno plants. This is my first attempt at doing jalapenos but my second at trying to do hot peppers. (First time didn’t turn out so good.) Then I made homemade granola. It’s almost all gone now because it’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a bowl of cold cereal. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this sooner but now that I have, I’m like a little kid again and I can’t stop eating the stuff. I’m sure I’ll pay for it later. All that fiber coupled with a stomach that doesn’t care too much for milk in any form is definitely a recipe for disaster.
After breakfast I retreated into the simplicity of line drawing. It’s the foundation of all my ink work but often times I enjoy it just as much and sometimes more than stippling/pointillism.
I laid out the line work for my third drawing of my Voodoufairy series. After which I felt like doing some more, so I grabbed my Moleskine and drew up this closed lotus flower.
Tomorrow I’ll bring out my pens but today I’m in the mood only for some graphite.