I discovered something while working today that I think is worth noting.
From the beginning of this project, I’ve started from a text, and have been getting progressively looser and freer as time goes on — first breaking into watercolors, then charcoal, and now wanting to try pastel over the holiday.
What I found today is that for this to be fun, I need to be working spontaneously from questions and unexplored paths from prior concept drawings. What doesn’t work is attempting to think out and plan out everything in advance, because then the work loses…I guess, the joy and exploration behind it. When the joy goes, it shows. (…?) After having tried to work first at illustrating a narrative, I found that to bore me, so then I just took to reading what I’d written and drawing what came up. As for other methods of starting, though…I haven’t discovered them yet.
My Drawing teacher has said that “drawing is its own way of thinking,” and I can see the validity in this here. I had to go through at least four versions of Fractal (which maybe should be called Crop Circles) before I could actually see the logic in what I was doing, and apply it on a larger scale. There are still things I’m figuring out about it, like at what point the pattern stops being infinitely-expanding and is reined in; or what might happen if I take six small triangular units and plug them together, working outward from there (instead of having a simple two-unit mirror being the only …non-repeated? element), or what might happen if I go in a biological direction and make things even more organic than in one of my concept drawings.
Through the process of drawing and redrawing I gain more of a knowledge of what I’m actually doing, and what can be tweaked and where. I also find out what isn’t working, like I realized that going over graphite with light-colored ink caused the graphite to sink into the fibers of the paper and become impossible to remove. I also realized that my mechanical pencil leads (Pentel) were much more easily erasable than, say, an HB artist-quality pencil, and so to do work with guidelines, it’s ideal.
So I took Fractal, which started out as an experiment in the corner of my paper and grew to an 8.5″x11″ paper, and expanded it out onto 18″x24″ paper, if I’m correct. (I remembered I still had a giant unused upcycled pad on my desk, and got to work.) It’s Sketch paper and not Drawing paper, I think — the cover’s been gone for so long that I don’t remember (I must have been gifted this over a decade ago), but that actually helps, because I know if I mess up too badly, I can just start over. No pressure.
I’m also thinking this may be part of the reasoning behind our warm-up drawings for class. I worked in vine charcoal today and made a pretty cool drawing (!) which I am now planning on using for my portfolio, after I can fix it.