Thursday, 30 June 2016

Black Lines

As an enthusiastic but untrained artist, drawing has long been a thorn in my (creative) side. Coupled with a penchant for perfectionism, my attitude and beliefs about drawing have been real stinkers that have undoubtedly held me back. I have read and followed some revelationary advice from lots of sources, but principally Cat Bennett's book 'The Confident Creative - Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind which has had a huge impact on how I approach drawing now. I find placing restrictions on myself really enhances my creativity and one of the biggest issues I have with drawing is the practice of using pencil. It reminds me of painful art lessons at school where I spent more time rubbing out and redoing than actually just doing. Having the option to make tentative lines and marks that if they are 'wrong' (and that's a whole other blog post!) can be erased and redone is a nightmare for me.
Last year I went on an urban sketching session in Manchester and sat doing some real observational drawing for the first time in over 25 years. All my feelings about drawing (how crap I am, blah blah blah) came flooding back and I may as well have been 14 again. I drew an overworked picture and created a small molehill of eraser crumbs and if I hadn't been with a lovely friend I probably would have given up and gone home with a blotchy face and a bad attitude. Instead, I persevered and tried sketch number two but this time committed to only using my black fineliner and put my pencil and eraser away. This move was a watershed moment for me. Yes, I still wasn't high-fiving myself for what I'd produced but it felt like a completely different exercise. I felt brave and careless with my permanent marks and lines. They looked so confident on the page that I was almost seduced by their self belief and didn't hate what I'd done. I believed in them. Rubbing them out and replacing them with essentially more of the same, wasn't an option for me anymore. I now almost always draw exclusively with fineliner pens and simply accept what I make them do. The strong black lines look so bold and decisive, so sure of themselves that it seems rude to question them. So I don't.   

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