Throwing shapes

I started keeping a daily journal at the beginning of the year. I had a few goals: Get started writing again during this fucking pandemic, and relearn how to draw. 

I ended up with divergent journals: one for writing and one for drawing, and then they reconnected again, and now I have a writing project to type up, which has taken me away from the writing journal, and a regular drawing journal. It’s nice. Unexpected. 

I started all with a pencil and have moved onto watercolors and ink. I never thought I could paint, and the joy it gives me is immense. 

I don’t know why I fell away from drawing. Too many things pulling at my attention, probably. When I was younger, I was very focused on making comics, and I gave it a good try. 

I still draw them but I think of them as illustrations now, which frees up my drawing. I’ve acquired these owls and while they’re the same basic concept, each one is its own owl (or not). There’s no need to be consistent. It’s okay.

Photography helped me learn how to compose a picture, and that’s helped with drawing, too. The page is a frame. Not everything has to fit. Not every detail needs to be in focus or represented as more than a shape. 

Anyway, I sprained my hand last week and while I’m back at about 75% when it comes to typing, drawing is difficult. Which has given me time to reflect.

When I started a journal, I wanted to take drawings and writing and combine them in one composed page. Like a comic. Instead, I’ve learned I can work out thoughts simply by drawing. 

A drawing doesn’t have to be an illustration of what I’m thinking about, it can be an expression of my thoughts. Or, the process of drawing shapes on paper can be enough. The picture can be shaky and unrefined and about nothing at all. Drawing is its own process.

When I started drawing, my friend who is a painter suggested I read This Is Not a Pipe by Michel Foucault, and because he is a very good friend and we used to get into some trouble, I picked up the book and read as much as I could understand.

You can draw a pipe but it’s not a pipe. You can create symbols with media that resemble a pipe. Talent and skill can make a person very, very, very good at achieving this. So much so that the shapes they throw make you believe a pipe is real.

All art is shapes. Looking up at the moon in the sky can provoke emotion. The planet on which you are standing is also round, an oblate spheroid at least. When you’re learning to draw, shapes provide a foundation. Shapes are free. Anyone can draw a shape with anything.

Whoo. Starting to get cosmic. I should write more on this soon. Until then, I have an Instagram where I’m posting doodles.