Friday, July 04, 2008

June Sketchbook Conclusion.

I successfully completed the 100-page sketchbook in a month challenge I described in a previous journal entry.

I posted six times to the group blog. They are:

Batch 1
Batch 2
Batch 3
Batch 4
Batch 5
Batch 6

Here are some facts, observations, and notes that interest me, but perhaps no one else:

  • I ended up posting 47 pages to the group blog. This equates to exactly 47% of the entire journal. I'm not sure if I had estimated a success/failure rate when I started, but I am pleased with 47%. It seems higher than my anticipated total.
  • I wrote "Be Fearless" on the first page of the sketchbook. I can be very tentative when deciding what to draw. There's always the constant fear of failure which can be paralyzing and constrictive. It's easy to stay in your wheelhouse, and draw things that are familiar. But I wanted to be able to draw anything in front of me. I wrote "Be Fearless" as a mantra to jump without concern of falling. As trite as it sounds, it helped. I drew things I never would have before. I constantly challenged myself. Ironically, I have a fear/superstition of drawing a picture on the first page of any sketchbook. I would have been more fearless had I actually drawn a picture and not written "Be Fearless."
  • It was a lot more work than I had anticipated -- and had come at the cost of other artwork -- but it was totally worth it. A very rewarding experience.
  • I drew some stuff that I never would have drawn otherwise. Because I needed to fill the sketchbook in a finite amount of time, I didn't have hours to sort through hundreds of images. Instead, I had to be resourceful and inventive. The common became immortalized. And as mentioned above, I wanted to challenge myself so I picked atypical subject matter and angles and views. It was good. I can be restless and it's hard for me to sit for long periods of time. This exercise was nice because it forced me to sit in beautiful parts of the city, and trying to translate that beauty into dark lines. Not only did I have to take time to smell the roses, but draw them as well. This forced stationary sitting was good for me. I noticed small things. I relaxed.
  • I used to only draw on the front sides of a page (i.e. I wouldn't draw on both sides of a page -- front and back). For this assignment, I drew on every single side. I liked this approach for many reasons. For one, I could do a double page spread -- draw a single scene across two adjacent pages (see my sketchbook postings above to see what I mean). Secondly, it made individual drawings less precious as it was possible to harm the drawing on the other side of the page if you used heavy watercolors or inks. This is good because I'm more likely to relax and have fun when I draw because I'm not afraid to make mistakes, and this in turn helps create more interesting drawings.
  • All pages except for one were done in pen (or pen plus watercolor/ink wash). The one exception was a rock poster concept sketch done in pencil and watercolor. I'm certainly surprised by the dominance of pen, but it was a nice change as it's one of my favorite mediums and I hadn't been using it that much.
  • Getting behind is bad, as catching up is difficult. The other issue is dealing with fractions. In order to complete 100 pages in 30 days, you need to do 3 1/3 pages per day. It's that 1/3 of a page that bites you in the ass. It's easy to remember to do 3 pages in a day, but you also have to remember that you need to sketch an extra page every three days to account for the extra 1/3. If you don't remember, you soon realize that those fractions quickly add up.
  • I'm a little perplexed of how to harness this experience and carry on. I liked the disciplined of creating three or four new works every day -- although it consumed my life. I was also forced to draw things that I wouldn't have before -- and I liked the results. So how do I remain prolific and also challenge myself with new subject matter, while allowing time for regular artistic endeavors? I'm currently trying to figure out how to develop this balance.

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