Some days I think my growing fondness for scratch board, officially the slowest drawing medium in the world, is a curse, impractical and quite frankly idiotic.
Other days I think it is teaching me an important lesson.
Since Lighter Than My Shadow was published, I’ve been trying really hard not to approach everything in life like an eating disorder. If anyone is wondering how that comparison makes sense, consider that my former approach to making art involved a lot of lists, target sheets, unreasonable goals and considerable self-flagellation for not achieving them. It became clear in the aftermath of my book that this approach was not only destructive, but unsustainable and honestly not a lot of fun: it was removing all joy from drawing, purportedly the thing I love most in the world. And so I decided to learn to do things differently.
Here’s where the world’s slowest drawing medium comes in. I have no choice but to let it go slowly. An A4 page takes me the better part of a week. My penguin poster has taken two months so far and is still not done. Yet I’ve just decided to also use scratch board for some (not all!) of the next Green Bean.
I am making marks every day, and by my old standards I do not have a lot to show for it. My blog is quiet because I am not churning out work at an unsustainable rate. When I do post, I feel like I’m writing the same thing over and over, justifying to myself that this slower pace is OK. In truth, living with it is extraordinarily uncomfortable. The old pattern would have me down tools in despair, lamenting that there’s no point trying if I can’t conquer the world by tomorrow lunchtime.
I am not doing that. I am going back to the drawing board and making the marks I can make today; learning to let that be enough.