I am a newbie to blogging and this is my first blog post. I like computers, I am not a Luddite. I like writing and I draw. I have, more or less, always done both. Now I am doing it on a computer (in part) and publishing it. Cool. Exciting. But why?
For most of my life I have kept sketchbooks, and for the past three or so years I have done so with a passion and a vision of what it is I want to do. And what I want to do is to write, and draw, for a living (with maybe a bit of teaching thrown in too). I have always wanted to do this, but I have never believed it possible. I still don’t. Not really. That sort of good fortune and opportunity is the stuff of other people’s lives. When I was a kid that’s what my parents, my school teachers and every adult thought, and told me, so I knew it to be true. This is where my journey begins, to believe it might be possible.
In two weeks I begin a part-time MA in Children’s Book Illustration. I wish I could do it full time and sink into it with all my body and soul, but I must pay the bills. Yet it’s a journey; a journey of faith, and of self-belief.
If I look inward at my soul and if I draw and document the people, places and things around me, then all seems well with the world. I am purposeful, as when travelling. But if I stop doing that and look outward: at the competition, the need to make a living, at the tightened circumstances of publishing, the impossible odds… then I am frozen with fear, a rabbit in the headlights waiting for the crash. After all, an illustrator wouldn’t stay long in the hot air balloon slowly loosing altitude (relates to a ‘game’ once played at school in an English class).
Well, in part, this blog is about documenting that adventure. The changes that will take place in my art – the development of my drawing skills and my ability to transfer those skills to an ‘illustration’ (I am a ‘Fine Art Refugee’ as Martin Salisbury puts it).
Another part of the blog is as an extension to the sketchbook – a public forum for my sketchbooks. I have always kept sketchbooks (did I tell you that already?). I usually write in these sketchbooks, alongside the drawings. Knowing that people like to look through them I never write anything that I wouldn’t be happy to share and a blog feels like a public expression of this. Instead of waiting for a convenient and ‘natural’ moment to thrust my sketchbooks under someone’s nose and demand they look through them, I can now post sketches and comments LIVE and to thousands (ahem… from little acorns. mighty oaks do grow).
Why is this important? Why now?
Occasionally I have uploaded some artwork to Facebook, sketchbook pages etc and find I am beginning to see something creative in this. Last winter I mentioned to my friends that I’d like a sketchbook with lines one side and a blank page on the other. They duly found me one, and a personal tradition of writing and drawing was re-discovered. A blog is simply the updated version. A picture and writing. On line. Public.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I think I’m going to.