Drawing the lines

Drawings of museums have been dominating my notebook for about the last year. On any given page you might see some planning for a game or notes from a meeting, but it’s much more likely you’ll see a march of museums, about three per page, on and on. Hundreds of the things, including a whole set I don’t ever bother to post to the website because they’re not up to it. I draw them at cafés, in meetings, at conferences, while I’m on the phone. Drawing them often helps me sit still enough to pay attention to what’s going on around me, so I do think they’re a kind of listening aid.

One thing that happened about two weeks ago now is that I returned to using my fountain pen - basically the blue ink museums are in fountain pen, the others some kind of ballpoint or other standard-nibbed pen. I’m mostly using the fountain pen because I have one, it was a wedding gift, and because I’ve been interested in how it feels to use it. A couple of weeks back, when I came back to it after a hiatus (I ran out of ink and forgot to refill it for weeks), I found some kind of mystical bond with the pen. I don’t think I’m actually able to put it into words, but it felt like the combination of me, the paper, and the pen were putting down lines in a really different way to what I’d been doing with the museums previously.

Most of all I guess it feels like a greater freedom? I’ve tended to draw recent museums much more quickly, without pausing to working what the drawing “needs” in its composition.

It’s a bit like the fountain pen version of me it just more confident about things, the lines flow out of the pen in ways I wasn’t experimenting with before.

With the result being “new museums”. Where I’ve tended to go for terrible (sometimes on purpose) perspectival drawings of 3D shapes, with the fountain pen I’ve been a lot more comfortable drawing more two-dimensional forms.

I imagine this is because of the satisfaction of the line itself, that the lines alone have enough purpose and structure to feel complete in themselves without needing to really dictate a more plausible structure to the drawing.

Anyway, it’s been a kind of intuitive revelation. As you can see I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something qualitatively different about the process and outcome of these drawings. Which I kind of marvel at, having been drawing “the same thing” for such a hell of a long time. I don’t even seem to want to stop…

The museum in which Pippin is there, decrepit and almost blind, still drawing museums…

(As is tradition, I’m well aware I haven’t been writing much on this website lately. One element of this is simply that I’ve actually been more focused on other form of work, but another is that the website is more about foregrounding drawings over text at this point. In making it so the front page includes a link to the newest writing, but doesn’t give it a date, I feel so much more comfortable with an erratic writing schedule. That may or may not be a good thing, but at least in terms of anxiety it’s been a win.)

2 September 2017
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