Drawing, Thoughts, Work In Progress

Slowly Does It

penguins 2Some 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.

penguins1

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.

green-bean1

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.

Work In Progress, Zines

Zine Chaos

Green Bean pages

I love the feeling of finishing a new zine for print. My desk is left strewn with papers: not blank ones, or pages of barely decipherable notes as usual, but of finished drawings. It’s very satisfying, especially if it’s been more than six months since I last finished one! Sometimes the theme of a Green Bean is all set before I make the first mark. Sometimes I just have a vague idea and the rest unfolds as I draw. This issue was definitely one of the latter.

Almost six months ago I moved from Bristol, my home for the preceding eleven years, to Devon. I knew I wanted to make a zine about that transition, and one of the reasons the zine took so long is because I don’t feel that transition happened fully until the last month or so. I was so caught up with travelling and promoting Lighter Than My Shadow and The Crystal Mirror, there was hardly any time for drawing, and even less for settling in to my new home.

But as I started to settle, drawings started to happen. Drawings of what I love about my new place, of what I miss about the old one. This new Green Bean has maps, comics and stories, as well as books reviews, a craft project and a recipe for macarons (oh yes). It’s at the printers now, and should be ready in the next week or so…