Sketchbook: No Direction

Sketch Study of Woman in perspective

Sketch of Woman in perspective

Direction is a strange thing.

Sometimes it’s there, and sometimes it’s not.

Lately, it’s been… not.

Usually I have the opposite problem: all direction, no time or energy. I still have no time, but I’ve had the energy, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to apply it.

When I start work on a new woodblock print, I know what the image is going to be. I always know before I even start drafting the image what it is going to be. My preparatory sketches are a chance to work out the details, but the main idea is there when I begin.

The imagery isn’t floating around my brain right now though. I’ve got the energy to carve up some blocks, but the usual imagery isn’t floating around up in my head.

When I get like this, the answer is just to start drawing. The image at the right is a little sketch to try to work out a seed of an idea. There might be a tree that can grow out of that seed eventually, but not now. I drew it to see if there was something in that image that felt right to me, something I would want to make a finished piece with.

There wasn’t.

Below is a sheet from my sketch pad that is just a smattering of ideas on the same page. Nothing significant, just a few ideas to see if there is some imagery hidden in one of those ideas that I can extract for a print.

Sketchbook page

Depicting the regression to jets.

There was nothing there.

I’ve learned that when I regress to drawing jets, that the imagery I’m working with isn’t going anywhere.

Nothing wrong with jets, they just don’t sop up my creative juices in the way I am looking for.

Also, when I say “there’s nothing there”, what I mean is that the images in the sketches don’t hold any emotional resonance for me. They don’t make me feel anything, other than “that might be interesting”. To me, if “interesting” is the only emotion that an image evokes, that image is not good enough.

So, I go to an old stand by, I draw myself.

sketch of myself on a couch

Yours truly on a couch

This is a nice little pencil study, but there isn’t any juice in this. It may look ok, but there isn’t anything in this image that makes it interesting, or provides a vehicle for meaning.

This is gonna need more work. What do I do?

Actually, I do know what to do. This “woe is me, I am without direction” post is just a set up. I know exactly what to do, and I’ll let you know, just as soon as it’s done.

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