As a kid, I used to draw. Like A LOT. Every day, pretty much. My brother and I would tear through reams of typing paper, drawing and erasing and crumpling and starting over. Princesses and horses/unicorns were my fave subjects, being a white middle class white girl of the 1980's. My brother: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, space ships. My sketching spot in the house was on the floor in the living room, with my feet tucked under the bottom of the bookshelf, where the heat vent was. We had a shoe box of crayons that I left there a couple times, to have them melt through the box onto the hardwood floors. My mom loved that.
I kept drawing all the way through college, where most of my sketching happened as doodles during classes. Yes, there was drawing for my degree: Illustration and Design - but oddly, my best work was my doodles. I never questioned why that was....until recently.
So first of all, somewhere along the line I stopped drawing. My paintings are very draw-ery (as opposed to painterly) - with definite line work and hard edges. I glaze to get my colors and shading as opposed to blending or brushwork. But I barely work on the drawings underneath the paintings and don't work out my idea before hand. It's just in my head, I get reference photos, and then slap up a rough sketch on my board, and then flesh it out with color.
Then at Blueschool (my shared studio/gathering/art/class space) I had to lead one of our monthly Art Socials, and the subject was Drawing. So I went online to gather some exercises I could lead the group in, and read an article about listening-while-drawing, and how drawing is not a distraction from what you are listening to; but rather allows one part of your brain to be occupied so the other can focus. So doodling helps you listen better - but conversely I found it also to make my drawing better and more unique! Having the linear left brain critic occupied while listening allowed my non verbal inspired artist play happily and unfettered. So THAT'S why my doodler is better than my strictly supervised illustrator!
So two things happened as a result of this insight: one, I switched from listening to just music while painting (which is still great) to listening to podcasts. Not only was my painting better, but I was able to finish quite tedious bits with much less resistance. My left brain is also happy, getting a fabulous dose of new thoughts and stories through an array of my new passion for podcasts (current faves: This American Life, Serial, NPR Politics, Keepin' It 1600, Revisionist History, The Big Listen). Two: I decided to join in the October Drawing Challenge "Dractober" to get back to my sketchbook roots.
Dractober 2016's list of prompts was created by Kirsten Easthope, which I found via one of my all time favorite artists Amy Abshier Reyes. I sketched every day (ok there may have been a few days of catch up) and posted to my instagram account, @karinbolstadart, which automatically also posted to my Facebook Page and my Twitter Feed. It was so much fun to find new artists this way and also get feedback from old fans and now NEW fans. My first few sketches, I have to say, kinda sucked. But towards the end I got less inhibited and had more fun.
Now I find I don't really want to stop! I've decided to keep with the sketchbook fun by joining in with Illustration Friday, where there are weekly prompts. It's less sketchbook and more of a finished piece, so I'll be posting first a sketch of my idea and then do a scratchboard of that sketch to submit to the Illustration Friday Website. I'll be posting that here, as well as on all my social media spots - so stay tuned!
For those of you who didn't catch all my October sketches, here they all are! Which is your fave?
art life via Instagram