Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"You draw to practice drawing??!!"

It has recently come to my attention that many people who are not from an art background/community, do not understand the concept of a sketchbook. So I'm here today, to enlighten some people as to why I carry a sketchbook around with me everywhere.

For me, not all artists, my sketchbook is like a journal- sometimes I write about the mood I'm in to reflect back on later as to why I drew something, or leave a causual note about what's been going on lately, and sometimes incorporate that into whatever I'm drawing. Other times it's simply there for me to pass the time and leave a doodle. Plus, you never know when there's going to be someone sitting right in front of you, that you can draw for free, just to remind yourself of how the human figure looks. The sketchbook is really there because I need to practice.
And today, that's what floored me about one person who laughed when she asked what I do with all of my drawings, and my reply was simply "it's all practice". To someone who is perfect, with no flaws, I guess this seems insane. "Practice, who needs to practice for anything?" No, you're completely right. Musicians never need to practice. In fact, every guitar player I've ever heard on the radio, simply picked up the guitar and started playing perfect pieces from day one. I'm sure Leonardo Da vinci never made any mistakes, anytime he touched a pen, or paintbrush to paper it was an instant million dollar drawing/painting from day one...yeah- oh she's got me, what am I doing?
No folks, artists do have to practice. Any art class I've ever taken they give you a warm up period, where you have to losen yourself up before you tackle some giant project. Any portrait I ever do, I don't just rush right into it, there's an underdrawing that has to be accomplished and cleaned up and then the real drawing begins. But it's not just that, I went an entire 6 month period, right after college, where I didn't draw anything, not one thing. When I tried to draw something again- it was like I was back in Middle School, going "techniques, what's that?"
I guess I was a little ticked off when she laughed as she said "You draw to practice drawing???" making it sound like I was the biggest idiot on the planet. It has made me realize though, that a lot of people out there think that artists can just go at the word "go" and make something spectacular right in front of their eyes. (Don't get me wrong, there are those capable who can make the most wonderful pieces of art right there...but it's definetly not me)
And another thing, why does everything that's ever drawn, or painted have to "be something"? Can't a sketch just be a sketch, that probably will only ever be seen by one person? Why does it have to go on to become this fantastic creation? Oh, AND, why is it that if you can draw, the automatic reaction from people is "you should illustrate children's books?" Why not "you should have your own business"?

Anyway- yes I have a sketchbook; yes I carry it with me almost everywhere; no not everything I draw is a masterpiece or deserves a spot on my blog let a lone my company website; Sure I would like to illustrate children's books, but it's not like that is something I can do after my 8 hour shift at work every night- I would have to be fully invested in it- possibly taking a hiatus from my job- which I can't afford to do right now.

Oh yes, I would love it if everything that came from my pencil that hit paper was a masterpiece and it would sell for thousands or millions of dollars...while I'm still alive...but I live in the real world.

Thank you for letting me rant...

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