Anyone who draws–even someone who draws as infrequently as I do–fills more blank pages than they ultimately polish or share. Most who write do the same. Usually, these extra pages of work are produced in the service of creating some final “thing,” some carefully studied and wrought image (or paragraph, or paper … or blog post).
My wife will not hesitate to say that it is painful to watch me write. A page of scholarly writing may well take me a day, or a day and a half. A paper can kill a week–sometimes a month. An email may take me a couple of hours. If something takes me a week to write, I do not mean that it takes me a week at the laptop “on and off.” I mean that I wake up with dread and fall asleep on the floor, the light of the laptop across my face … the mere notion of adding another sentence or paragraph utterly consuming my life.
I get frustrated. Irritable. I start to feel like I’ve been neglecting exercise, my wife, and any variety of fun–which is exactly what happens.
Drawing is more of a relaxed activity for me–though, of course, I’ve been known to take to it with miserable perfectionism, too. I do not produce a lot of visual studies with the intention of taking to a masterwork later on. I try not to waste anything I draw, really. I try to bring any shape or line I put to paper to a point that I can call it “finished,” or at least “interesting.”
Sometimes this work is banally repetitive–drawing angry faces from a 3/4 point of view many times over. Sometimes, these lines take a wonderfully unexpected direction. I love it, for instance, when I start with a pair of eyes and end up with a drawing of a burly rabbit tending bar. I love it when I start with a cylinder and end up with a drawing of a robot baking a steak in its belly … and then I draw a billboard frame around the robot.
Sometimes I just end up with bits and pieces that don’t add up to much, but are nevertheless things I’ve never drawn before and may never draw again. Drawing is a hobby that, despite the repitition necessary to master it, produces novelty after novelty. I love it.
So here are some bits and pieces … and annotated, no less.
1. Very much wanted to draw a shy girl in a sweater. PARTIAL SUCCESS.
2. I suppose this looks like the villain from Hellraiser, but, I was gunning for “Cactus man.”
3. SAMURAI VS DANDY
4. Logan Patch?
5. Looks like he’s been on a soap a decade too long.
6. Beulah the lunch lady.
7. I like the hair on this one.
8. I THINK SHE HAS SIDEBURNS.
9. This is not Fred Astaire.
11. Chopping down a tree near you!
12. Another lunch break, another bruiser.
15. THIS IS HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW.