drawing


I started National Novel Writing Month very early this morning.  There are people who are not writing novels this month.  There are lots of other people doing other creative things this month as well.  Seems to be a good time to undo the bonds of resistance to our creativity.

I’ve decided that I need to do something constructive about my drawing, so I am starting a project for this month.  I’m calling it NaPaDraMo–National Panel Drawing Month.  OK, so it’s not national, but it could be.  It’s definitely about drawing panels and I’m limiting it to the month.  What exactly am I limiting?

I am limiting myself to drawing 100 panels a day.

Whoa! That’s a lot, you might say.  Not really.  I’m defining a panel as a little rectangle on a page.  I am limiting myself to just filling up that panel with some drawing.  I’ve made a list of what I want to accomplish.  And I’ve made a good start.  I already did over 100 panels today.  All of the panels fit on one page in my sketchbook.  I didn’t say how big the panels have to be!

Why one hundred?  I got a lot out of the time I spent posting entries to the 100Words.com site.  Besides rhythm and editing, I learned how to manage the barriers I felt to engaging writing on a daily basis.  This is what I hope to get from making 100 panels a day.

So, the plan?  I won’t be posting all the work here.  Instead, I’ll post the pages/panels I like the best.  I am starting another blog to discuss the project and will possibly post some on Flickr.  Meanwhile…off to start the new blog.

Edited to add: Blog is here!

Advertisements

Been making a doll panel for Spoonflower using Inkscape and Gimp.  Now that I’ve got the panel up in time for the contest, I need to figure out how I made it!   I do that a lot: jump in and do something then back track to figure out what I did and how I did it.

Fortunately, this means figuring out Gimp and Inkscape for real.  Not haphazardly.  One thing I discovered about tracing an imagae by hand is that there is a strategy to choosing which marks to make and in which order to make them.    I also found myself more invested in negative spaces, seeing possibilites for further design.

Now that I’m settled in a graphic pursuit, I have more confidence that I will finish the Drawing Words Writing Pictures course.

Oh.

That’s what happened.

I just realized that fabric is the part that has been missing in this endeavor.  The ability to create images that are then printed on fabric opens up whole other possible narrative displays.  I’ll explain my revelation this way:

My first ever cut-and-paste celluloid film was called “Patchwork”.  One second of film is 24 frames long.  How many pieces of film (frames) can we really see?  How many pieces is half a second?  What does it do to the “narrative” to start the visual story in the center of the strip of film.  The patchwork pattern “log cabin” begins in the center.  Each strip is a length equaling the side of the center piece and the width of the attached strip.

This is how I made the movie.  I used identical bits of subject matter and laid out the pieces in segments of a second based on the “center” being 1/4 second (6 frames).  When it’s run through the projector it’s easy to feel and see the progression of images, the impression of there being a story.  But from the center to the end…not so easy.  Not easy to see that it’s a reversal of the first part.  It feels jagged, unsettled and the ending unfinished.

In comic books, the page doesn’t have quite the limitations of seeing one frame at a time.  A flow can be found, eventually.  Even a comic strip, as linear as a film might be, still allows the viewer to compare one end of the strip with the other.

A quilt is not a film and a film is not a quilt.  The possibilities of investigation, though, are rich and inviting.

Heart The flow of elements in the body move from very disparate places.  They are connected by means of the blood that our hearts pump to and from, here and there.  Heart is at the center of all things, the measure of which determines the lengths to which we will go and how much courage and encouragement we need to get there.  It is at the center of every venture and Adventure, drawing us on, fueling our dreams and desires.  Let the center panel be a heart and tell the story of what comes and goes.

so… I thought the bunny upload of the day should reflect that.

 bunnies and pollen

bunnies and pollen

I finally got the tablet up and running so I did this on Gimp.  It’s fun finding out what the program will do within the framework of a task.  I got the idea about pollen from the way the brush tool worked.  That and not wanting to keep doing the thing over.

For the bunnies, it’s the same doodling effort.  Still starting from the ears and making that and the head in one line.  For these I used more than one line because I wanted to work the tablet a bit more.  The baby bunnies was a one-line exercise, though.

OK.   Off to blow my nose again.

I didn’t realize how much a perfectionist I was until I did this image.

srrange creature that it is

srrange creature that it is

I don’t like it.  I did this because I don’t know how to draw with shapes in Gimp. So, I used Paint.   It’s times like this that I miss my tablet.  I miss the movement of drawing that the tablet simulates even though I’m stll not used to the feel on the surface.

That tension is how I choose pens for daily use.  The paper in my journal suits the pen I use, a Pilot Precise V5.  It’s too fine to use on paper with any real tooth to it.  For drawing paper, as an example, the V7–which is way too heavy for the journal paper–makes a line similar to the finer pen on smoother paper.

My journals?  Miquelrius, a Spanish brand.  I originally found them at Barnes and Noble.  Then, I guess the Moleskine popularity suggested they market themselves directly.  Now, they can be found online in all their variety.  I prefer the red covers for some reason.  Love the weight of the volume.  Don’t know how many pages, but I expect 300.

I’ve been lazing about for the last couple of days, having a couple of extra days off work.  I have also been doing some preparatory work for future lessons, so get your tools ready.  We’re coming up to story pretty soon!

OH, before I forget… A doodler to add to the rolls: Doodlage.  Her site is dedicated to doodling of all kinds with some amazing collections.

Danish artists Doodled installation

Danish artist's Doodled installation

green-bunnyI could have kept messing with this forever in trying to get it “right”.  Everything is reminding me of spiders (still).

I was inspired by Ed Emberley (who Melanie mentioned in her previous post) and tried working with shapes in Photoshop.   Reminded me very much of playing with a grown-up version of Colorforms.

I had no premeditated message and it took me a while to figure out what the bunny wanted to say.  In fact, I didn’t even realize how the title of this post would come into play until just this red hot minute.   Making an ecological statement was the farthest thing from my conscious mind when I started messing with the shapes.   I had no idea what to title this and so I started with Go Green and a big shrug.  Then adding This Easter sort of materialized.  Now it makes almost too much sense.

I swear there are fairies in my head.

My preferred way of doing art the past few years has been more of a doodle and less of a conscious thinking effort.  I got a degree in art never feeling like an artist in the first place.  This intuitive way of doing art has been my attempt to deconstruct all my pre- and post conceived notions of what art is, or who an artist is.   These days it is more important for me to express what I feel and/or let my inner creative beings have my hands and eyes to create themselves with.

So I made this “comic” by letting it draw itself.  I enjoy not knowing where I’m going.  It’s like looking at someone else’s work (and in a way, it is).   I’m always amazed at how the pieces of the puzzle fall together long after the drawing or painting is finished.  I think that’s true even with intentional art.  That’s why we do it.

 

heart-notes

 

As you can see, spirals loom large in my symbolic lexicon.  They were the first things that appeared when I decided to let go of control.   What do they mean?  I haven’t really asked.   Some part of me is afraid that if I find out what all this really means it will go away.

Is it a comic?  I don’t know.  The line between comic and illustration and storytelling is almost nonexistent for me.  I like to think that it is a comic panel drawn by the heart angel herself.

As for doodling, I like it so much I made a Squidoo lens (also known as  a web page to the uninitiated) about it:  Doodle Art   And in case you’re wondering, I drew this in Photoshop.

I was going to leave drawing out of this blog.  The typical pen/pencil and paper kind.  Then I saw this about doodling and listened to this podcast about drawing and decided it’s time to let the pen out.  Although I’m comfortable with drawing, I have a hard time doodling.  Never knew what good it was.  The idea that doodling keeps one engaged and not off daydreaming was a real wake-up call (pun intended).  I’ve been a lifelong daydreamer.  Don’t know what stopped me from picking up pencil and fidgeting with it.  I just know that I thought it a waste of time.  And went back to daydreaming!

Then I found a wonderful book by Bert Dodson, Keys to Drawing with Imagination.  That’s where I not only learned what doodling is good for (as someone who already draws), but also found a place to start.  I love his drawings and have his other book, Keys to Drawing.  It was this one, however, that got my pen moving, and showed me how peaceful and relaxing doodling can be.

I first started doodling on coffee cups from Old Soul at the Weatherstone, our local coffee place.  They kindly provide blank white cups that I decided need to be recycyled as drawing surfaces.  Nothing like the plain, white surface of a throwaway to get the pen finger itching.

coffee cup doodle

coffee cup doodle

That’s a variation of the Bert Dodson suggestion.  A continuous worm, or string, or what-have-you.

Since that beginning, I’ve allowed myself to keep the pen moving after I’ve filled a page with text.  Sometimes that means filling up the trading card space I leave on every page.  Too often I forget that I do draw, and just get carried away with words.  Making a space on the page for drawing something helps create a bit of silence.

not typical but a page with doodling

not typical but a page with doodling

There’s lots and lots of doodling on this page because I was thinking about writing this post.  First, there’s an extra trading card space on the left page.  Usually that page is left blank.  Also, there is decoration around the right-hand trading card.  That’s kinda new.  I used to leave those margins blank.  Just like on regular cards.  Now I tend to decorate them.

On the bottom of the right-hand page, you will see some palm trees.  At least I hope that’s what they look like.  I discovered something when I drew those.  On another page, I had drawn palm trees that were outside the cafe window.  My purpose for drawing them was to figure out what their actual shapes were.  That was about a week or so ago.  Now, here I am sketching their shapes.

What does this have to do with Comics and doodling?  Ah!  That was my lesson.  When I started on my own journey toward comics, I had to come to terms with the nature of the drawing.  I wondered, in particular, what cartooning and so comic book drawing really was.  What is the essence of it?  Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

The original meaning was in fine art, and there cartoon meant a preparatory drawing for a piece of art such as a painting or tapestry.

I recognized that I was “cartooning”. I was looking for the basic shape of the more complex object. Now that I have that basic shape, I can fill up a page with it. I can use it for doodling.

remembered childhood doodles

remembered childhood doodles

I didn’t remember I ever doodled until I started making them for this post. On this page are stars and butterflies.  I remember why I made the stars.  I was trying to figure out how they were made.  What are the movements I needed to make with my hand so that I could easily, and regularly, make these five-pointed things easily.

how to make three-dimensional looking boxes

how to make three-dimensional looking boxes

These boxes,  another childhood memory regained.  I remember trying to get the order right, and connecting the right lines to the right places.  Who knew that connecting the corners of two  boxes would yield such a complex object?  Again, it was practicing,  doodling really, that taught my hand how to move.

This is how we learned to write in the first place.  We scribbled something we really wanted to know more about.  We did it over and over again, in different media. We looked for images in the real world and tried to figure out how they worked by making our own versions of them.

I still don’t want this blog to be about drawing comic books.  I find it too intimidating myself to think of having to produce consistent imagery by hand.  But, when I let myself relax and have fun, when I look back at the outcome of unattended to expression, I like what I see and feel encouraged.  So,  to that end, I will be including more doodles and more about doodling in the blog.

Doodling: Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Mark of a section of the page and fill it with marks, any kind
  • Fill a sticky note with your name
  • Draw spirals, focusing on keeping the space between the lines the same
  • Find something around you that you like the shape of, draw it as you see it, then fill a page of it from memory
  • Find some doodles online and copy them

Heart — For ten uninterrupted moments, with pen and paper, doodle hearts.  While you are doodling, think of something your heart desires.  Try to see your real heart beating in your chest.  Let your pulse lead your hand.  Breathe gently, letting your breath flow over your drawing, through your drawing.  Relax into the flow of the lines and feel your desire flowing into the world.  When you are done, close the page.  Leave looking at it till another time.

If you get tense or feel yourself in a complex situation, remember the hearts and feel your hand drawing them again.

Next Page »