|3/29/16 brush pen, Field Notes|
- If your goal is to create art
you will be looking for an occasion to ‘do a sketch’ making sure that the
scene is inspiring and that you have appropriate time to complete it. Of
course in the process you will be recording part of your life, but the
motivation is to create a beautiful image.
- If your goal is recording your
life then you will look for any opportunity to record events or thoughts
in a variety of ways – quick sketch, more planned sketches, notes,
collage, info-graphics, diagrams etc. You might create a beautiful piece
of art in the process but that wasn’t ‘the driver!’
She also talked about the ideal occasions when No. 1 and No.
2 merge seamlessly, as when she has more leisure time during her daily life or
when she is traveling.
|Last in line in my sketch (and in reality) was Greg.|
I really appreciate it when I read posts like Liz’s, which
make me think about my own sketching process. (Many readers shared comments on
her post about their own processes, and they were interesting also.) I, too,
seem to have at least two or three different ways in which I approach a sketch,
although sometimes the choice is made unconsciously.
I don’t think I’ve ever begun a sketch with the intention to
“create art” or “make a beautiful picture,” although occasionally the result
might end up being beautiful. However, I do sometimes set out with the intention (Liz’s term, which I find appropriate
also) to make a sketch that I want to tell a “story” of
Yesterday at the UW light rail station, I started my first sketch with that intention: I wanted
the sketch to tell the visual story about a station finally opening in north
Seattle (a big deal in my ‘hood where light rail has been very late in coming).
As it turned out, the unexpected cold and rain changed my motivation and
intention, and the sketch ended up being more of a “record of my life” type of
sketch. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to
on it, but not disappointed that I still got the moment recorded.
After that, my intention for the whole day changed, and I
decided I would approach the rest of my sketches as recorded moments rather
than “stories.” I probably spent about the same length of time on the second
station sketch as I did on the first, but for that one, I pulled out a brush
pen to make faster, bolder lines than a fountain pen. Without the goal to “tell
a story,” I found that I enjoyed the process more, and I also ended up liking
the finished sketch more. Between those station sketches and throughout the
day, I made small, quick sketches that were definitely in the “recorded life”
category rather than “stories.” But collectively, they do end up telling a
story of the day.
Today was a redux of yesterday, this time with Greg.
After hearing about my adventures on the light rail, he wanted to check it out
himself, so this morning we hopped on the same neighborhood bus and then on the
train southbound to Capitol Hill. My intention from the get-go was to simply
record the day – not make “story” sketches. I filled several pages in my red Field Notes with people on the train,
in the pub where we had lunch, and waiting in line at the transit pass office
where we had to stop. Again, collectively, they became a record of our day,
riding around on public transportation.
As you might guess, these were enormously fun sketches to do.
Something about the brightly colored paper in these Field Notes takes the
pressure off, and the sketches seem to make themselves. What pressure? I’m
usually not even aware of it, but the desire to tell a story with a sketch does
set a certain threshold I feel I need to meet. Having a threshold is not a bad
thing – I think it pushes me to want to continually improve my drawing skills. But
sometimes the day is only asking to be recorded – not be a story.
I have at least one other way in which I approach sketching,
but I’ll leave that for another post.
How about you? Do you have different ways of approaching your sketches?
|In addition to bus and light rail, we even made it onto the streetcar!|