Black and White Sketchbook Fancies

I’m on vacation in Arizona right now, but it’s Friday so here are some words for thought:

I’m a sucker for vibrant color, but I’m equally wooed by stark black and white. When I doodle in a crisp black-and-white style, I’m usually pretending I’m designing woodblock or linoleum prints (since I don’t have the capacity to do REAL printmaking right now). Or I fantasize about what kind of tattoo I’d design if I were to get one. I put on my “design” eyes and try to pull out and exaggerate the pattern-y elements of whatever I’m looking at. I approach this style of doodling much more slowly and carefully than when I use watercolors and ink. It requires me to be calm and focused. It’s for that very reason that I tend to draw this way when I am feeling anxious and scattered –  the act of slowly rendering a design forces me to reign in my thoughts and find my center of balance.

That’s one of the many reasons why I think ALL of you should have a sketchbook, regardless of how “artistic” you think you are. There are a lot of reasons that I sketch that have nothing to do with my “job”.  It’s often a tool for keeping sane. Sketch to calm down, sketch to focus, sketch to connect to a particular moment in time, sketch to let your mind wander…it’s more of a meditation and devotion practice than anything else.

Anyway, here are some doodles from my sketchbook that I did in one such moment of “angst”. It did the trick and detached me from the whirlpool of useless things I had been stressing about at the time.

Sketchbook Page w/ Chickadees

I guess it’s the same idea as all those adult coloring books you see now.

See you when I get back from my trip! Perhaps I’ll have a few vacation sketches to show you.


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Poached Trout

Here’s an illustration I did this week.

I find it interesting that the thing that inspired this was not the cuteness of cats, nor the pleasure of drawing mushrooms, but rather, how lovely I think my cutting board is.  Every time I chop veggies on it, I think about how I want to do a watercolor painting that captures its beautiful woodgrain and it’s maple-y color.  Unfortunately, as I worked through this illustration, I realized that visually, this was not going to be about the cutting board at all (those pesky cats stole the limelight!).

So in the end, I didn’t get to do the obsessive detailing I long to do in order to sing praise to the under appreciated cutting board.  I guess I aught to do a painting that solely focuses on the cutting board, without attaching it to any visual story about curious cats…

…because cats are awfully distracting, are they not?


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