Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A view from my sketchbook...

in which we find the artist trying to grow...

Fair Warning: I am the first to admit that I can't draw. With that in mind I was really apprehensive about the thought of doing a sketchbook but all the fiber artists I admire so all have them; and swear by them: so... I bought one (ok; it was last year but I've been busy) and it terrified me. I mean really; all that white blank paper. I would sit with a pencil in hand (that was my first mistake) and try to think of something to draw (second mistake; of many so I'll stop counting now).

When I would try to draw in pencil it meant that I could erase. And I did; frequently, because any tiny stray line that was not utterly perfect would drive me crazy and thus; I could never 'commit' to the entire drawing because of many million mistakes. So I'd quit and reconfirm my belief that 'I can't draw'. I realized I needed a paradigm shift. So I went shopping... blogger shopping. Looking for tips & eye candy I desperately needed.

I was reading Pam Rubert's blog and would see that she only uses ink pens to draw. "Of course she does! She can DRAW!' I would lament. I checked out my friend Jamie Fingal's blog & she had sketch called 'doodling' and hers was all in pen. It looked immensely fun and the idea that you can just start with one shape (in her case a leaf) and then just do variations on that one thing somehow gave me the step up that I needed. Then I thought of something I hadn't before. What if I used a pen. What is the big deal? If I screw it up; then so what? It's my own sketch book; no one has to see my atrocites... So I started on night, very quietly in front of the fire place; to 'doodle'. I vowed that no matter what I wouldn't stop until the page was filled and if there was a 'mistake' or 'mistroke' then I would somehow turn it into something else or simply move on...

And I did;

Here's my first page 'a la Jamie Fingal' in doodling. I call this lovingly, 'Catnip Dreams'.

Couple nights later; some flowers; not happy w/Hummer but like the flower chain.

Later in the week; was really stumped & so went with a possible beading pattern.

This was two nights ago; I was sitting in my bed in my pj's & caught a silohouette of myself in the mirror (the far away mirror!) and I felt the need to accept my body as it is right now; no fretting over diets; excersize undone; blah blah blah. Apparently I'm not ready for the 'full frontal view' LOL but here was my thought & affirmation to myself.

Night before last; some fun with letters & my own handwriting ideas:

And then last night; inspired by my 'Big Birds of Prey Book' that is lovingly referred to as 'Bird Porn' by birders; my 'little owl'. I tried to sketch this tiny guy as a practice run for attempting larger things. My daughter Ellen encouraged me to put it up saying it was "something I want to use on deviant art". Wow! I made a deviant's page; how cool will that be?

Certainly it's not done; but I am confident that using a pen (a pilot 'needle' micro) is the way to go for me. I was trying to do the 'light/dark' thing and so he's a bit lopsided; but I think it has promise and it's recognizable as an owl and I'm really amazed that I drew it.

Thanks for stopping by & feel free to leave any comments; even critiques as I really don't know the first thing about drawing except that it comes from a different side of the brain that I don't live in.


  1. Um, Stacy, I hate to shatter your idea of yourself but woman, YOU CAN DRAW. That owl is fantastic.
    And your writing....*sigh* its so beautiful.

  2. I like your catnip dreams!

  3. Anonymous5:08 PM

    Yah, I'm gonna shatter that self-opinioin, too! I think the owl looks pretty danged wonderful, and the rest of your doodling is quite fun! I have several sketch books, and I get pretty intimidated by those blank pages, too. I think I'm going to take a cue from you and just start playing a bit more.

  4. I'm the same way -- terrified of the blank page. And you're wrong -- you can draw. It's hard to turn off the recordings in your head -- and get back to that place of acceptance we had in our childhood.

  5. Thanks you guys! I was torn about saying that about myself; I truly believed that I couldn't draw & still have no illusions about how hard it is. I was worried I was coming off like I was fishing for compliments which would be wrong. I don't consider myself 'all that' by any means. Thank you for your encouragement. Last night I did some big Raptor feet; then an eagle's eye and some feathers. I find the feathers to be the most daunting, esp. in just ink. At least in pencil you can do shading. With ink; not so much.

  6. Anonymous10:55 PM

    Ha! My daughter is also on deviant art. She has never one day in her life worried whether or not she can draw, and she sells her artwork all the time.

    I need to learn that kind of self-permission!

  7. I have to say, my first reation when I read the post was 'you're wrong to say you can't draw, 'cause hey, these are great'!

    I love the owl (I have a very soft spot for owls, generally) and the first page of doodles - esp. the house on the globe, and the two-tone cat.

    I think hat the humming bird is not so good because it's head seems out of proportion (not 100% sure about the tail - I think that hummingbirds DO do that with their tails bt somehow it doesn't tlook quite right! And the daisies would make a lovely border to something.

    You should definately carry on with your sketch book.

  8. Hi Stacy, of course you can draw!
    I've seen drawing by people who "can draw" extreme realism, and I've also seen people "cheat" and trace photos to get all the proportions perfect. The problem is, there is no personality in those drawings. You can tell a traced drawing a mile away.

    What gives a drawing its charm is when the personality and attitude of the artist is right in there, and girl, you've done it. You're in those drawings front and center and that's what makes them art, right? :) yay, Stacy!

  9. p.s.
    What I think about the Owl drawing is that you stopped at the right time. I have trouble doing that.


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