Friday, April 18, 2014
Every Friday, when I'm feeling kind of good that I have some unclaimed hours ahead, I also think about what it means to have spent another five days of my life. Hopefully, I've accomplished something -- nudged the ball forward a bit, done something decent and good and perhaps been kind in some way. But weekends are definitely a double-edged sword, I think. Yes, we made it to the end of the work week, but we also edged further along the great finite calendar. Hmmmn.
Then I go back to feeling like Alonzo and the #substitutebunnies here. Ahh, freedom.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
This year I've posted to the blog virtually every day, as a kind of record of my #dailydrawing commitment. The effort has been partly in support of my Alonzo book project and partly as a lark: let's see what happens when I promise to draw every day. The blog (and Facebook and Instagram) have helped me stay accountable but also motivated with the instant gratification that comes with "publishing." (It's still hard for me to equate blogging with actual publishing.) But sometimes I find myself tossing a picture here at the last minute just stay on the record, and skimping a bit on thoughtfulness.
So, a little thought: The #dailydrawing commitment -- made in haste at the turn of the year -- has been one of the best things I've done for a long time. I think it's improving my work. More importantly, it has made working for myself more pleasurable. I like comfortable routines. Drawing every day, and spending time daily in the "studio" (really just an office over the garage) has become something I look forward to because I'm less anxious about screwing up. When you do a lot of work, there's less pressure on each individual effort; you know you're coming back the next day anwyay.
I also have been thinking about illustrator Bobby Chiu of Imaginism Studios, who wrote this great little book The Perfect Bait, which talked about the practices of better, more successful illustration. He talks about always working with intention (and I suspect he would add, "Even if you're just doing a little sketch of terminally cute bears"). What do you want to do with this drawing? How do you want to challenge yourself here? This was a sea change for me, because when I started drawing more often it was for the pleasure of feeling the pen on the page and seeing what happened. That will take you a good distance, but it won't take you everywhere.
Drawing daily (or writing daily) tends to launch one's efforts into that more intentional space. Maybe we just get tired of trying to follow the muse and want to lead for a while.
Enough thoughtfulness now. So often it leads to overthinking. But I wanted you to know that I'm still here behind the machinery that lets me throw quick sketches on this space. I'm doing rewarding work, and I hope you are, too.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Cleveland lore reminds us that in decades past, an Easter parade took place around the lagoon at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and that the centerpiece of the event was ladies in festive hats.
It's too bad the hat tradition died. What's more festive than a hat with all kinds of fussy stuff?
And what's more fun to draw than a lady in a festive hat, as one of my favorite illustrators, Maira Kalman, has done famously on the cover of the New Yorker (more than once)? If you don't know Maira Kalman, please go immediately here.
So here's my Easter hat lady. I might yet do another before spring is gone.