Discover more from Printer-Paper Boy
Drawings and Thoughts (#1)
There is something in me that fears the starting point. I make it matter too much. Maybe I’m thinking about stories and how they work, from a writing standpoint, and maybe that’s a differing mindset than the one required to start drawing pictures.
I have no idea. At least not in the moment that I’ve written this word.
In my mind it all looks the same. Beautiful visions with heart and meaning. Story is in there somewhere, but my experience of it I think is probably more literary than driven merely by pictures.
My drive to become a “complete visual artist”, let’s say, is different from what my life-experience has provided for. Not unlike my marriage.
It is will that drives it.
My life and the life of my wife did not provide for an intimate experience of a functional marriage by our parents. The best we got were the example of friends’ or cousins’ parents. In this way, we are constantly drawing upon the distillations of our gathered abstract knowledge and theory when composing our way through life together and the responsibilities of parenthood.
This can be stressful. As there is much riding on our theoretical implementation and experimentation.
The life-long scientists, us.
Similarly, my yearnings to be a great visual artist was born of a dream that took significant root sometime in my early twenties. By that measure alone, I am late to the gathering. Who knows what chance I’ve really got at true greatness concerning the facts of the matter.
Besides getting on late, there is that I am an American and an average one. Average American is not in great shape. Yes I have an Iphone but who needs one when the cultural trappings have had my character in shambles.
I have had more than one dream. I’ve had at least two other serious dreams, and admittedly they contend with this one and sometimes win some time from me. Imagine if I only kept one dream alive and close from the beginning. Where would I be then? Some people are like that, surely, and some cultures encourage that, which surely helps to support their commitment, during those tired, late and often ragged rallies of push.
Maybe in some areas and in some sections and in some families they emphasize the choosing of one over the choosing of many. In my average American experience and in my survey of the average American’s priority, there hasn’t been much of that emphasis. That deliberation.
What I got is maybe what most get from their parents. A default tendency to judge negatively what is not particularly well-understood. When telling my mother about my dream of becoming an artist, she told me to study graphic design, and I didn’t want to do that so I was stuck without her line of support and a pathway forward.
I wish I was open-minded with her prompting. A graphic design education would’ve benefitted me surely. However, our dynamic was not exactly functional, and although her pragmatism is something I admire, there was a lot of arguing and hard lines drawn, in regularity. Something that set me off, I guess. I knew her to be immovable and unchangeable. Her law was like infinity and I took that to heart pretty hard, often. Dreams can be a bitch to quit on, and without support, or at least a persuasive and comprehensive dismantling, dreams end up as life-long companions living inside you. An imaginary friend of sorts, of whose relationship to you is one of questionable benefit.
It was funny. I announced this challenge and sent an email-blast to my whole list of contacts (a patchwork of email addresses compiled gradually and intermittently throughout my extra-human periods of existence, including exhibiting long spans of anti-social(media) behavior, intentional cellphone-less years, and off-the-grid(ish) & in-plain-sight spats of idealism exacting itself) and the first thing I did after the email-blast was sent, was draw incessantly on every plain white surface that wasn’t my officially designated pile of paper acquired for this challenge. This went on for a week before finally mucking around on the page you see above.
After that I drew something comic-like because I wanted to taste the challenges that come with that sort of endeavor: format, intention, consistency, variety, story, etc.
I started to draw with a light-grey fine-tipper after this, so it wouldn’t be so… severe. Whatever, I was still feeling nervous about presenting a bunch of trash.
This one offered a bit of an inward journey. A smattering of influences and subject-matter. It makes me think about the British in India, early. Or like, Laurence of Arabia- somehow, except if that is the scene, it breaks character a lot. It is those things but without perfect commitment to it. I reserve that right though. Call it freedom, although maybe I’d be happy to execute the intended scene with a stricter adherence.
I guess, I do what I can.
Here is where things’ll get bigger, er- wider? Longer?
I used up the the sheets of paper that got damaged from being the on top of the ream. Some sloppy warehousemen used what fate would have for my eventual ream of paper as a surface to do his or her box-cutting, and anyway a sequence of slice-marks would compromise the top few sheets. So I cropped away the damaged areas and used what could be salvaged as my first couple’a pages.
Sometimes the folds in the clothing I draw looks too rigid, like there’s too much starch used in their upkeep. Sometimes the folds look natural.
A sworn pledge, casted upward to the winds, in a time, long, long ago promised victory in the quest for clothes-folds-mastery.
Sometimes it feels like the very first drawing (on a page that will come to occupy multiple drawings like the one above) has to come out abysmally bad. Like the equivalent to pointing a bb-gun with like 20 pumps at my dominant foot and pulling the trigger. Soiling the whole thing instantly. Then the part of me that insists on redeeming the page (or at least lowering the volume on the garbage, that uncontested, shouts and shouts) kick in.
Like seriously, what’s with the dude’s shirt center-left? Why is it doing that.
Also shout-out to my boy for his coloring work on a few of the figures.
I swear that I draw these types of practice-pages in unrelated fashion, but people will see this and often ask something like, “Why is the headless blue guy pointing his dick at that guy’s head?”
And then I go, with eyes rolling, “Ugh! You obviously don’t get art!”
I guess, what I do say is, I’m trying to get the human form right, and nudity is a part of that investigation. To me, nudity is not necessarily sexual. It’s natural, and when you’re experienced with studying it and are committed to knowing it inside and out then it can feel clinical and technical most of the time. Drawing sexually is a lot like drawing beautiful women. It is like walking a tight-rope across the grand canyon. One slip-up and you’re toast. Seriously the execution of a beautiful woman, in lines, is very delicate. Everything has to be exactly where it ought to go or else it’ll look like a lumpy, frumpy, Humpty Dumpty, or otherwise just “a little bit off”. Which is devastating. This is why I draw men more than women, I think. I’m more comfortable and familiar with my body for one, which makes observation of the different aspects of musculature and structure, for example, more easily accessible.
I’ve taken it upon myself though to draw women more, and to forgive myself if their boobs end up looking really weird and misplaced.
I’ve gotten better at areas of weakness before and frankly learning to draw women better may improve the overall quality of my experience drawing.
This has been Printer-Paper Boy! Subscribe to receive new posts and to support my work.