Friday, August 17, 2007

The Sleeper Has Awakened

Well, I've done it.

Finally, after much thought and debate, I've finally decided to put together a place online for my sketches and occasional commentary. Those of you deep in the know are aware that I already have a blog hosted elsewhere on the 'net. That one was born out of a need to externalize a lot of interal things, and as a result, isn't necessarily fit for public consumption. Not so this one. This one is a site I want the world to see (or at least, those of you I've told about it, or have turned up out of curiosity...).

Why now? And why drawings? Well, funny (or at least long) story. Once upon a time, long long ago, I used to fancy myself something of an artist- or at least, I could draw something, and mostly folks knew what it was. I used to draw all the time. I've kept notebooks from high school subjects just because I've drawn over my notes (usually in class). I would draw almost every day- I could be sitting in front of the TV, or be shelving groceries at the supermarket where I worked, and have to stop because an image came into my head so clearly I'd drop what I was doing so I could get it down on paper. Clouds never looked like just clouds to me.

And then something changed.

I stopped drawing so much. Ideas came less frequently. I would spend my time at work not thinking about what I was going to draw, but thinking about work. Or about paying bills, or about getting the oil changed, or about one of a thousand little things that make up our lives. And then one day I realized I hadn't picked up a pencil for drawing in months... and it didn't bother me. Things were going on, and I had a lot more important things to worry about than wasting my time drawing stupid little cartoon characters. My brother gave me a beautiful sketchbook the Christmas before- a year later, it had maybe eight sketches in it. So I set aside the sketchbooks and pencils and kneaded erasers. I guess I'd moved on.

Last month, I was on vacation with my oldest and best friends in the world. A whole week sitting around doing nothing at the beach. Sweet! But not quite "doing nothing". You see, my friends draw, too. Not just doodles while on the phone- they draw ALL THE TIME. They have book after book after book filled with sketches, caricatures, toons, thoughts, ideas, sometimes just a few lines... They live and breathe drawing. They will be old, old men, barely able to see, and they will be drawing. They take sketchbooks and pencils with them everywhere. They took their sketchbooks TO THE BEACH. Now that's dedication. So I'd sit there with a book sometimes reading, mostly watching them draw. I'd occasionally offer my humble opinion on their efforts (I'm no artist, but I know the language) and watch them pour their talent and imagination onto blank pages. I sat, and watched...

And then something changed again.

As I watched them work in their sketchbooks, I began to realize something was going on. There was a feeling in the air- something different from all those times I'd look down at a blank page, and see only a dead end. Something different from those times I'd start to draw, only to stop a few minutes in when it wasn't working out right. My right hand was twitching, like I'd just picked up something lost. My eyes were moving, like I'd just seen something familiar, and welcome. My mind was racing, like I'd just assembled something new and clever and wonderful. I realized what had happened, what was happening.

I wanted to draw. I NEEDED to draw. I ran upstairs and found the tablet and pencil I'd brought along for the trip (unused other than for making lists for the longest time), came back down, sat on the couch, and DREW. My hand moved that pencil like an engine was driving it- I couldn't get the image out fast enough. My eye was picking out the right lines out of those I'd put down, deciding what to keep, what to erase (I'm a scratchy artist- clean lines aren't typically my thing). My mind was placing everything out on the page, waiting for my eye and hand to catch up. And I was thinking of what to draw next. And what to draw after that. And what to draw beyond that...

So here I am. 20+ days and 25+ drawings later, and no sign of slowing down. It's like the gap between then and now was a chance to recharge my imagination- or maybe it was more like a land in drought, waiting for the rain. That time with my friends, my brothers, will be among my most treasured memories. The time I found my talent again... There's a kind of energy you get when a group of people get together and do something they love- it's something that you all give off, and you all take in. Sitting around drawing in a group was like passing around lightning. You feed off each other's excitement and skills and creativity, and give out your own. The energy only builds, never lessens. And they say there's no magic in the world...

So, there you go. That's why I've got this site. I'm really excited about what I've been drawing- more excited than I've been in a long time. And I wanted to put it out there to share my excitement. Maybe you'll take some of that energy of creativity and of excitment (especially the excitement!) with you, and put it into something of your own. If you like, feel free to share your own ideas, and creativity, and excitement. Go ahead. There's plenty to share.

A note about the artwork: by and large, I'm going to present it in chronological order. At least initially, it'll be a chance to show my headspace at the time this whole mess started. There will be times, however, when I'll switch up, usually to present a series of pictures with some manner of continuity to them. Or if I'm bored. Heaven help you if I'm bored...
And don't go expecting high art or anything like that. I draw what I like, first and foremost. But I'll see if I can mix it up a little bit.

A note about this piece: McConland is an idea that came to me while hanging out with Dave, my friend and roommate. This was probably the result of intentionally mis-hearing (a trick learned from Harlan Ellison) a comment Dave made, my remark about what i'd misheard, and the insanity that follows when guys such as we put our twisted minds together. There's a vague plan to turn this sketch into a more formal one-page gag. You'll see... oh, you'll see...

This is dedicated to the Brothers Weaver, without whom there would be nothing for me to post.

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