Saturday, 10 January 2015

Unimportant somethings - A Drawing a Day 2014-2015

Happy 2015! You didn't think that I wouldn't complete my 'drawing a day' challenge for 2014 did you? I have to admit the challenge of working bigger and in colour for what was going to be my second year of completing 365 drawings, left me unsure if I was going to actually find enough time and have the discipline that was needed to complete such a task. What was I going to draw for each of those days?!
From whatever depths of madness, obsession and passion for drawing that drove me I managed to complete the year. Self congratulations aside it is useful for me to take this opportunity to reflect and evaluate on the experience. Similar to the year before I formed a love but also hesitant relationship with the daily commitment to drawing. Unlike no other medium I've found in art, I actually feel the 'need' to draw and if I haven't drawn something for a number of days I start to feel like something's amiss. Like an itch that needs scratching, perhaps it is the closest thing to some mild form of addiction. Yet despite this, I found it interesting how making time to do a drawing everyday; on your good days, bad days, holidays, when you're feeling unwell, days when you're just so busy; really offers a rare moments pause and reflection where the only thing that matters is your attention to the thing you're looking at/'what's on the page'. Days when you really feel too tired, stressed or just too busy to draw are the most challenging yet once you lose yourself into the process of looking I felt reminded of why I enjoy the concentration, focus and escapism it offers. In part a lot of this has something to do with the 'type' of drawing I do everyday which borders on something closer to illustration than the eye-opening skill-set of drawing/looking I explored during Fine Art. To confess I think I have always wandered the periphery of being more representational dare I say 'a closet illustrator' a 'repressed doodler or cartoonist'. This 'tight' way of drawing often, arguably not leaving much to the imagination; other than appearing as a purely self indulgent exercise has, I think testament in the choice of 'what' is drawn and intensity placed upon 'how' it is drawn. In this way, conceptually at least, it shares some threads within Fine Art practice. The purpose and where this project 'sits' within my practice bothers me slightly as it is less defined and I am less clear in its motives other than it 'was something I wanted and felt a compulsive need to do'. It is a question I will have to consider later in more detail. 
The drawings themselves should reflect some of these observations more accurately. It is an honest account of my drawing ability, some of which has improved  whilst other aspects, as you will see, still remain a challenge (wheels for example!).There are many bad drawings as there are many successful ones (and that's not necessarily about being subjective, some drawings are just bad drawings!), but all of them of course a learning experience. Some days are quite lazy others clearly have had more effort put into them, it would have been impossible to be in the same state of concentration everyday for a year. Life, events and your emotions won't allow for consistency. And that's not to say the days with a bad drawing were a 'bad' day and vice versa, I think it's probably a lot more subconscious than that and never at the front of my mind when I draw. I just draw. What I will say is that they definitely improve throughout the year as my confidence with using colour and experimenting with pencil instead of pen begin to creep in. I acknowledge that, but it isn't always evident just how much attention I pay in learning from my mistakes along the way as drawing everyday doesn't allow much time for reflection. However through the persistence of drawing you can't help but naturally improve slightly as you go. Albeit slowly, I did come to the conclusion that whether I work in black and white or colour is really dependant on 'what' I draw rather than pre-determining it from the offset. For future reference the qualities of the thing I'm drawing should determine the medium.
In terms of what I draw and why, that will probably remain a mystery without going into a running commentary on each drawing as ideas from one often lead to ideas for the other. At times it is possibly a little more disturbing than last year, I didn't hold back but in doing so found the times when I was drawing from a real object (as opposed to an imaginary thing) the finished drawing had a lot more integrity, intensity and were on-the-whole more enjoyable to do. If it was my intention to reveal something of 'myself' in the work then the drawings which have these qualities and are based-on real objects with real histories or connections stand out as, in my opinion as the more successful drawings. I prefer working this way and it is something I will certainly consider for future drawing projects.
A lot of the time what I draw each day works on an association basis, for example, you can be painting the smooth metallic sheen/surface/rendering on a wind-up bird toy and it can remind you of something similar you've seen and then you choose to draw that the next day, or the shape of it reminds you of something or the thing itself recalls a conversation you've had, a place you've been or purely something straight from your imagination or something ready-to-hand at home. To anyone else looking, it certainly will appear at most times incredibly random.  A lot of the images this year are also from pop culture, music/cd album covers, films, video games, other art works from Rembrandt to Grey's anatomy. Other things are unusual curios that my family have bought or collected. There are plenty of animals which have been useful in helping me to 'soften' my quality of line and explore more organic/subtle forms, but if hand-on-heart I still prefer drawing objects and yes, tools! If you ask me, I'd probably have a story to tell about most of the images. 
The completed stack of six A6 sketchbooks for the year 2014-2015.
As per last year's 'drawing a day' project it was never my intention that whilst drawing something each day, that I may actually end up completing the year and secondly that I might not choose to show it online a second time. I'm still not quite sure about putting it in the public domain, but feel that a certain degree of closure or an end to this project needs to be told and for that reason,
 I am pleased to show here, the completed 'Drawing a Day' project 2014-2015!
(Note - you can either watch the flickr slideshow here or if it doesn't work on your phone/tablet then please click on the link below)

Watch the slideshow and/or click on the link here:

Created with flickr slideshow.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to look. Please do leave a comment below and/or email me at 
Where does that leave me now?...
Do you really need to ask? I do still have an A5 sketchbook waiting to be filled... so  of course I am going to do something similar again!!
Only this time I'm going to do one drawing a week, 52 in total and make them bigger more considered and worked. Allow myself more time to think and revise what I'm doing. I can't promise it will be any looser, experimental, safer, riskier, weirder or more wonderful than the last, but we'll just have to wait and see.


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