It’s been a while since I’ve drawn. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I’ve been fairly productive with my work, writing and other things. But I’m starting to get that “itch” to get back into art again.
Drawing is a relatively recent hobby for me. My mother is an artist, so I grew up being exposed to artwork. I learned techniques and styles, and was able to try out almost every medium out there: watercolors, scratchboard, oil crayons, paper mache, and I even vaguely remember taking tools to a block of soap stone to try to carve a small statue of our pet cat. I was quite artistic when I was very young.
But as I got older, drawing and painting and crafts took a back seat to other things, and by the time I was in college it had been phased out completely.
Then, a few years ago, I was feeling restless and on the hunt for a hobby. I wanted something new and fun that I could try. I wanted something I could be bad at and not care: something that would be expressive and fun, but that wasn’t part of my normal “self esteem” so I could be free to just try and fail and try again, and not be upset about it no matter what happened. I wanted something that I could practice and learn about that would be completely unrelated to anything else that was going on in my life: nothing to do with computers or writing or mathematics or science or fitness or even music.
So I picked up a sketchbook and started to draw.
That was in August of 2010.
I had some basic knowledge of shading and perspective and anatomy, from growing up with an artist as a mother. For my first real attempts on the sketchbook, I turned to mythology and science fiction for inspiration: drawing scenes from some of my favorite stories.
Meanwhile, I kept practicing with my tablet. First, I played around with combining the calligraphy style that I had been working on with textures, but still keeping the very “illustrated” flat coloring style.
I wasn’t feeling very inspired, so I decided to give myself an assignment. For whatever reason, I thought to myself: I’m going to do a series of pencil sketches of gymnasts!
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But I didn’t want to get stuck in a “rut” and I certainly didn’t want to unconsciously fetishize my new hobby.
So I decided to go in a different direction with my tablet: horror.
This is about the time that I also spent a couple of months working on my life-sized charcoal self-portrait. That took up all of my artistic time and energy for a while, and when I was ready to get back to drawing I was ready to dive back into digital work (no dark smudges on the hands or charcoal dust on the floor, when working on my tablet).
But once again, I wanted to try something new, both stylistically and conceptually. After suffering from a bit of a mental block for a few months, I did a couple of random doodles…
So that is what brought me to this point, where I’ve been looking over the twists and turns of things that I’ve tried so far. Some of the stuff I’ve worked on has been fun, and some has been tedious. Some of it I think turned out quite well, other things were “interesting exercises” but not anything I want to go back to. But in every case, it was fun looking it over and seeing “where I’ve been” in this new hobby.
So I thought I’d share it with you.
Now, it’s time to think about that I’ll try next. It could be anything!
I think I have an idea, too. I’ve been to the art store and picked up some supplies.
I can’t wait to see how it turns out.