illustration and design, etc

journal

I haven't written here in ages. I'd like to start again. Here are the things I wrote about when I was a stay at home mom with my sweet daughter. Now she's in kindergarten, I have a job away from home, and I dream about this all the time. Enjoy.

The rules of drawing and when to break them

It's so difficult to discern when you should adhere to or shirk your training.  Perhaps this is where that thing called "balance" comes in to play.  I don't know much about balance these days.

The two most valuable things I have learned from drawing:

1. Draw what you see, not what you know.
2. Drawing is a plastic medium (by which every mark made is useful, but never final, and the eraser is a good friend).
There's a fascinating chapter in a book I read for an independent study once, all about the artistic developmental stages we go through as children, putting our world down on paper, with crayons, or colored pencils, or daddy's special pen.  It's about where we put the horizon line and how we plant our trees in that ground.  It's about how we translate what we experience into what we understand.  We draw what we know, as children, not what we see.  This chapter's been on my mind a lot, and I think I'll reread it soon.  It's called "Growth."

Children draw fearlessly, innocently, intuitively.  And then we go to school, learn about rules and how things work.  We lose our intuition, and our world view becomes a collective homogenous world view.  Then some of us go to art school and learn to draw what we see, to erase, to try again.  We learn different kinds of rules.  And then we go out into the world, and find that the rules we learned only sometimes help us express what we're seeing in our minds.

As with all rules, there are exceptions, and times to break them.  Knowing when is impossible.  There are invitations to be less realistic, more stylized, and more final.  Drawing with a pen or carving into a block of wood has that finality.  You have to move decisively because every mark, every cut, is permanent.

Part of a self portrait from 2005, my first relief printmaking class.

And then there's drawing what you know instead of what you see.  I guess you have to be communicating something pretty specific.  You have to know where you're coming from and what you're trying to say.  If you know all that, I think you've earned breaking the rule.

On the drawing board tonight: a bird that I see with feathers that I know.  This fellow will be part of the favorite{red} postcard set.