I’ve never liked sketching.  In high school art class, sketching was generally what I did to get to the interesting stuff.  Working a sketch into a full, polished drawing was okay, but not nearly as fun as painting.  As an adult artist, I’ve tended to trace and tweak and take other shortcuts to get out of sketching.

Hero and I went to New York for a Spontaneous Weekend in November.  I knew we were going to MoMA for the Matisse cut-out exhibit, and I’d been reading a lot about art lately, and also I’d recently had a few panic attacks in restaurants, so with one thing and another I decided to make a little sketchbook/doodle pad to bring along, just in case I wanted it.

So I cut printer paper into quarters and made a couple of booklets with brown paper bag covers and Japanese stab bindings, because it was quick and easy and I was supposed to be packing.


(The paint was smeared on using a roll of masking tape as a guide and the leaf-things were cut from a painted paper I had lying about, inspired by Matisse’s cutouts, naturally.)

And in New York I did a little doodling, on and off.  Most of it was Saturday night, when we went to a jazz club.  I am not a jazz person, but the dinner was good and I amused myself just fine.

Then I brought it to ladies’ meetings and CBS, figuring that doodling is probably a more socially acceptable fidget than playing Bejeweled on my phone.  And I did some lettering and a few patterns from TanglePatterns, and then randomly tried drawing someone.

middle right was done in New York (we got me some cute markers at MoMA), middle left was done at CBS (the writing) and at home, top and bottom are some of my first sketches, still mixed with other doodles.  Click to embiggen.

…and now I can’t stop.  I have no idea why.  I picked up a Micron brush-tip pen, which is even more fun than the normal Microns, though I think I’ve damaged the tip already.  That’s okay.  Sometimes I use markers, and those are fun too.

It seems to be specific to faces – I don’t feel like drawing objects or people at a distance.  Sometimes I throw in some shoulders and things, but usually not.  I have been reading Roz Wound Up a lot lately, so maybe it’s all her fault.  (She’d probably yell at me for using cheap paper, but this way is more relaxing for now.)

Across the top: at home, at a couples’ havurah meeting, at services while the band was practicing. The bottom one is from when my daughter had a bad ear infection and was lying on the couch. Click to embiggen.

These are quick drawings – a couple of minutes each, maybe.  I don’t really want to go back and add more detail or some shading, though someday I may experiment with it.  I just like throwing it down and seeing what happens.  I don’t think most of them are very good (and there’s a couple of even worse ones that I didn’t photograph) but some of them come out well and I’m sure I’ll get better over time.  And it’s fun.

The kit stays in the diaper bag, and now I’m considering making another little book for use at home so I don’t have to keep pulling it out.  I did dig up a pad of actual drawing paper that I probably bought in college, and that’s on the bedside table.

Beauty initially insisted that the sketches were not of her at all, but now she and Kitten both like flipping through and pointing out which ones are them.  (I’m not sure whether my sketching has improved, they’ve gotten better at translating what they see, or they’ve simply memorized which ones are which.)  They both love having me draw them but hate holding still – sometimes I draw them as they watch me draw, which is vaguely meta and leads to lots of profile and three-quarters poses.  Since she’s generally awake and quiet during the afternoons, Beauty gets drawn a lot.

Two of Beauty, three of Kitten (two-year-olds move a LOT) and one of my Dad. His forehead is wrinkled because my sister and mother were forcing him to weed out his book collection. Click to make bigger.

I have no idea where this came from, but it feels really nice.  So I’ll keep doing it.


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2 Responses to Flummoxed

  1. Nice post on being bitten by the bug! I think Roz would say, “God to draw, on anything!”

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