Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Oops - IFJM becomes Hatching Explorations

I wanted to participate in Roz Stendahl's International Fake Journal Month. If you aren't familiar with IFJM - the idea is to describe to yourself an alternate persona and to journal every day in April as that person. The point, in part, is to side step your internal critic, also to improve or expand in some area. There is a lot of detail at the link. I tore my paper into signatures, planning to do as many as I could and then bind the book at the end of the month. On the first of April I was busy and it slipped my mind. But on the 3rd I started drawing. My plan was to explore hatching, get more content into my drawings, and to include more text on my pages. I didn't have an identity as a different person, but thought one would occur to me as I went along. As the month went by, I wanted to draw in my journal, didn't really think as someone else, did all kinds of hatching experiments. The journal became Hatching Explorations. I guess the persona was me, so it's not really a Fake Journal project. I'm showing a part of my journal. I did include many failures and experiments and some doodley pages. I believe they are important to the process. At the end of this post I will evaluate the project. Images below will enlarge.

Beginning - I was just fooling around, looking at hatching styles, testing pens.

Some inspiration - Mark H. Adams is on Flickr, he posts his work and a lot of photos of himself. Trying to imitate someone else is a good way to learn - almost nothing is as easy as it looks.

Laura Hernandez is on the Sktchy app. I am trying to draw in the style (sort of) of people whose hatching I admire. I'm not showing all those pages - they aren't very interesting. I also looked at Henrik Drescher's drawings and an outsider artist named Foma Jaremtschuk.

Two sketches of Orville from the Sktchy app.

Two sketches of my Dad - from photos.

My Mom on the left and me - from an old photo a friend took. I am mostly doing family members, it's part of a long term possible project.

Two more from photos on Sktchy. I particularly like the one on the right - the wavy lines work well here, he was sitting in a car in the rain when he took the photo. I tried wavy lines again later on a photo of my dad, but it looked like a serious skin condition.

A ballpoint pen experiment. I do like this in many ways.

On the left the wavey lines combined with straight lines are not successful. I do like the one on the right - drawn from an old family photo. I wanted some kind of idiosyncratic hatching. But then I had doubts about it.

My dad again on the left, and at last - a live model! Jim taking a nap.

At this point I am feeling a lot of anxiety over some of the drawings - are they too mannered? Is this what I want? I decide I am over thinking things and do a sketch of a PeeWee Herman doll (from Sktchy) just for fun. Have Fun! Really, it's not that serious.

A very quick sketch, this guy had such a charming face. Again from Sktchy.

And back to the more mannered style of hatching. Outlining the shadow areas sometimes seems too artificial, sometimes I like it very much.

This one struck me as awful when I finished it, but now I do like the eye area. I often end up with a chain link fence effect on chins. I need to monitor myself carefully on chins and noses. Danger Zones!

Back to emulating someone else - trying to imitate Laura Hernandez (from Sktchy) on the left. Jim, my son and I were vacationing on the coast for a few days and maybe I was more relaxed. Which also explains the salt shaker and pine cone on the right - while I had two potential live models, they were getting touchy about me taking photos, I didn't want to press my luck by trying to draw them. It's okay, they are both supportive, and I do understand how tiresome it is to have someone scrutinizing you a lot.

I try the slow build-up of lines again. The lighting was beautiful in this photo, from Sktchy. But I realize I'm not going to spend hours on a sketch. I am too impatient for that. Still I like the lines and love drawing with a pen. So I need a compromise.

Me again - from an old photo. Nearing the end of the month and wondering what I have learned from all this.

My wrap up: I didn't draw with another person's profile. I just started practicing hatching, trying out various approaches. I did realize I can improve with daily practice over the course of a month. I was impressed that I ended up with 31 two page spreads. I was able to stick with this for a month because I was really enjoying what I was doing. I also was surprised at how much progress I made in a month. It pays to chip away at things. I don't pick things up quickly and don't feel I have much natural ability. So there is always a learning curve. But time spent does pay off.

My goals were to improve hatching, find a style I like and incorporate content. I certainly did learn more about hatching. And about my preferences. I do like Andrew Parrish's hatching where he combines outlining with some hatch marks. And I admire Laura Hernandez's hatching. Andrew's is pretty quick, but can look too mannered in my hand. Maybe I can improve that. Laura's looks classical but takes a lot more time. Maybe that could be loosened up some to go faster. Going forward I will try more hatching and try combining hatching with ink washes. I want to use a technique that will work in an artist's book - something that can stand up to some page turning and handling. I also want to work on adding some content, something that didn't happen in April.

Here are some things I already knew about myself, and things I learned in the last month: In general I don't respond well to a regimen dictated by some outside source - either prompts or something like "draw a face every day." But somehow this project worked for me - maybe because I was trying to not judge what I was doing. And not showing many of the drawings to people. A few did go on Sktchy. However I do find it's best for me to keep things private until they are done. I believe one should keep mistakes in sketchbooks. And allow plenty of mistakes to happen. Also doodles, fooling around, all kinds of random things are good - some interesting things come out of them. I will certainly do some kind of "fake" journal again next year, although I didn't really work inside the guidelines this year. Maybe next year that will happen.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Defining Zymoglyphic

People often ask Jim what makes an object suitable for the Zymoglyphic Museum? I don't have a good handle on it myself. About a week ago we were out walking and I found a piece-of-wood-rotten-root-thing that he liked and kept to use in his museum. I often hand him stuff I find, hoping it will meet with his approval. I think about 10% of my finds are accepted. When I handed him the rotten wood and he accepted it, I felt victorious. So I decided I need to document the successes. And maybe some of the failures.

We just came back from a few days in Rockaway Beach. There had been a storm before we arrived so there was a lot of stuff at the high tide line. Below you can see what I found on the beach that Jim thought he might use in the museum - I was doing unusually well for some reason.
There were mole crabs all over the beach, in various states of decay. These were interesting because they still have their digging parts attached.

This is possibly a piece of bamboo. The harder it is to tell what it is, the better Jim likes it.

I think this one was accepted because of it's interesting texture. The piece of bark in Jim's left hand was found by Jim.

This one is very twisty and ambiguous in size. I believe it has already been assembled into something.

I don't remember anything about this.

This chunk of wood was selected because it's potentially a stand - things with holes in them are useful that way. I would have brought this home for myself if Jim didn't take it.

Another with interesting texture.

The appeal of this one mystifies me - it looks like just another chunk of driftwood to me.

There was a large log on the beach with a beautiful pattern. I was amazed when Jim reached for his camera to record it. I had to take a photo. He almost never reaches for his camera.

This is the log texture that Jim couldn't resist.

And finally an end-of-the-day shot. Happy treasure hunting to you all!