Once upon a time in when I was a Sophomore in college, I bought a hedgehog and named him Quilliam. Quilliam was quite a guy and we got along splendiferously. However, our time together was shadowed by a secret that I kept hidden. The secret was that I’m 100% a dog person. My little friend and I are very different in this way. He is terrified of dogs and I was afraid that if I got one he would live in constant fear. One day I found the perfect little 10 month Siberian Husky for rescue and I knew twas time for Quilliam and I to part ways. I found a breeder who was looking for male hedgehogs and sold him to save him from emotional trauma. I like to think he has enjoyed living out the rest of his days creating offspring.
To Quilliam, what a dude.
I have a 10 hour drive today returning from Ohio and I have been learning a little lesson about how deeply my art is or isn’t based in creativity.
I’m sitting in a bumpy car with a sketchbook trying to draw some sea creatures from memory. At first I was concerned that the piece would be unappealing because of the sloppiness and difficulty of drawing in the car. I quickly realized this was not the problem. I was much more limited by drawing from memory than I was limited be technical skill difficulties.
I have only drawn fish a couple times. So when I tried to draw a couple here I completely botched it and hated the drawing. Not because the car made it sloppy, but because I don’t have the details of a fish sufficiently memorized in my brain.
I moved on to a squid which I have drawn a few more times. I was immediately more happy with this drawing because I was much more confident with the anatomy of this creature.
To test my theory I moved on to a creature I have studied and drawn more than any other (perhaps aside from the human form) Sure enough, the limitations of the bumpy road were hardly significant at all.
How is this useful to me? I spend a lot of time honing my skills, working on my pen work and my painting technique. After today I am strongly aware that I am being more limited by my creativity than my skill. I have spent so much time getting my skill ahead of my creativity that I haven’t taken time for a while to study the form of things and learn to draw them. That’s good enough of a goal for me for the next few months, a challenge to notice and internalize the complexity of things. To focus less on skill and more on creativity.
Here is a drawing I did this morning in Ohio. I have really been enjoying the scribble art lately. I used some incandescent black ink with a dip pen on top of the smaller scribbles with a 005 micron pen. It’s hard to see the shimmer in the ink but it’s a nice effect.