Looking with Both Eyes Open
For two hours every morning and every evening, I take a bus into New York City to work. I’ve been doing this for three months now so what started as an uncomfortable four hours has become routine. I barely notice the ride anymore. I had sat on the same side of the bus each day until one day two weeks ago all the seats on my usual side were filled. I found myself sitting on the opposite side of what I was familiar with. Looking out the window that ride home felt like a whole new ride.
Familiarity leads to unfamiliarity.
They say artists see the world differently, but I’d argue that artists see what’s really there. I saw John Maeda speak last month and he said artists are like kites; the wind is always there, but kites helps us see it. Maybe artists simply show us what’s already here.
I’m really excited about James McMullan’s new series for The New York Times, Line by Line. The series is about “rediscovering the lost skill and singular pleasure of drawing:”
Drawing, for many people, is that phantom skill they remember having in elementary school, when they drew with great relish and abandon. Crayon and colored pencil drawings of fancy princesses poured out onto the sketchbooks of the girls, while planes and ships, usually aflame, battled it out in the boys’ drawings. Occasionally boys drew princesses and girls drew gunboats, but whatever the subject matter, this robust period of drawing tended to wither in most students’ lives and, by high school, drawing became the specialized province of those one or two art geeks who provided the cartoons for the yearbook and made the posters for the prom.
I’ve been thinking about drawing a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how I don’t drawn near the amount I used to and I didn’t like that but I’ve also been thinking about how drawing, in many ways, is much closer to our original language. As kids, we draw before we write. In history, pictographs came before letters and alphabets. So why don’t we draw much anymore?
Milton Glaser also points out:
Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.
I want—need—to start drawing more. I’m excited to go through Mr. McMullan’s series. Part two is already up and it called “The Frisbee of Art.”
It’s hard to believe that this school year has come to a close. I seriously have no idea where it went as it often feels like I just started at Kutztown yesterday. Tomorrow, I’m turning in my final project for the semester, that I have photographed in it’s entirety above. The project is a full hardcover book based off a Grimms Fairytale. I’m really happy with the end result and while I’m not sure it’s my favorite project I’ve ever done, I think it’s a nice representation of a style I’ve found myself growing into as of late and culmination of the various design experiments I’ve done this past year.
The book evolved slightly from my original plan, mostly in an attempt to simplify and only show what is necessary. All the watercolor and pen and ink illustrations were done by hand (something I’ve never done in a finished project before) and I’m quite proud of how they turned out. The finished book is printed on lightweight watercolor paper and bound in a hard cover. The final presentation looks really nice, if I do say so myself, and think this is a good project to finish up on.
There are some exciting things in the works for this summer and then I’ll be back at Kutztown for one more year in the Fall before I’m let loose in the design world. It’s going to be a good year.
New Work: Alanna Weaver Blog header
I recently finished up a quick project for my good friend Alanna Weaver. Alanna is a “photographer, aspiring style maven and world traveler from Chattanooga, TN” and needed a header for her wonderful blog.
I hand drew this header based off her name and then did a custom illustration around it. I wanted to go with something more hand-made to reflect her crafty, vintage style. I’m really happy with how it turned out and think it really fits the aesthetic of her blog.
See it in the Portfolio | Visit Alanna’s Blog