Monday, January 26, 2009

Drawing and writing

bussketches012309m

As much as I sketch and strive to get better at it every day, I also want to get better at writing. Writing on my sketchbook pages and writing these posts, telling stories out of mundane things like taking the bus to work every morning.

Do you have any advice? When you visit sketchblogs like mine, do you care much about the words, just the drawings or both? I'm curious to know what people think.

[ Cada día intento mejorar mis dibujos, pero también quiero mejorar mis textos. Los que escribo en mis cuadernos y los que publico aquí en el blog, cómo contar esas historias de lo mundano como tomar el autobús al trabajo cada día. ¶ ¿Tenéis algún consejo? Cuando visitáis sketchblogs como el mío, le dáis más valor a las palabras, a los dibujos o a las dos cosas por igual. Tengo curiosidad por saber qué opina la gente. ]

18 comments:

  1. it depends gabi, I come to look at drawings but sometimes the words that come with the images are complementing them or telling more of the story so becames even more interesting and both things grab your attention but if there's a lot of texte i'll choose most of the time not to read it. Long things to read I like to hold in my hands and sit on the sofa!

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  2. Because you are so good at conveying the minutiae of people's lives you give a glimpse of life lived in another place thousands of miles away and I find this very nourishing. I am sure Tim Berners Lee invented the web for this very purpose. The driving force is the drawing because this is where the probity is, the exposure to experience. The writing is an embellishment - but a very welcome one - I wouldn't be without it. I can't give advice, but I can say that I admire your hard work, your curiosity and the charm of the records you keep. I look forward to my glimpse of Seattle each day.

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  3. I have to tell that i dont care much about what is writing but instead how the text is put in the page. I see the text as a graphic element.

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  4. I come to look at the drawings, but enjoy a short paragraph about the scene. Sorry, I just don't have time to read long posts...

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  5. If I see an interesting drawing or painting, I look forward to seeing what the artist is thinking through words as well. Oftentimes, my drawing is unrelated to what I write, but the fact that both occurred on the same day seems significant to me. I always enjoy seeing what you have to say. I like the cultural information, but the personal notes are always my favorite. Art is storytelling, and wouldn't it be great to read your favorite artist's personal commments with each piece of work?

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  6. I always like to read s short paragraph or so on the artists experiences when doing the sketch. If the writing goes beyond a paragraph, I tend to loose interest. I like how you sometimes research you subject and add links. If the writing is political or religious in nature I skip it. Simple everyday experiences are what fascinates me and keeps me coming back. I also loose interest in blogs that do not post every day. I don't like mass sketch dumps with little or no written content.

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  7. Call me compulsive but I read every word and look at every image!

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  8. I think there are two aspects: words that you put as a part of your sketch and words that you write in your blog to give some background about sketching place-events etc. I am looking forward to both of these! Sometimes your scanned image is not large enough to read little text and sometimes I wish we would see more text about how the sketching went - but never less ;)

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  9. First the drawings but the words are really important for both - graphical view and context.

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  10. Your drawings already speak volumes,but I also enjoy your commentary.

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  11. I see the drawing first then words, or sometime I skip them.

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  12. Anonymous10:05 PM

    The words are huge for me. I glance at the drawing and then I read the text (in both languages!) and THEN I go back to the drawing and see what I see in it... and how it connects with what you wrote. I like your comments on what you were thinking as you drew, or what led you to want to draw that scene, and I like it when you put the whole thing in the larger context of your daily life (for example, "this is what I see out my window at work" adds a new dimension). I like the words IN the drawings too, but like one of the other commenters, they're often too small to see. I wish that when I clicked on the drawing it filled my (very large) screen.
    MJP

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  13. I'm definitely interested in the words too, both what they say and how they look. One of Danny Gregory's podcasts for An Illustrated life says some interesting things about it (he says he's more interested in the aesthetic than the meaning).

    He's a link on iTunes. It's the Melanie Ford Wilson episode. http://is.gd/h2N2

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  14. thanks for all the insight folks, this is really enlightning! i'm going to let it sink in for a while, i also think the drawing comes first, but i think the sum of the parts, drawing+text, is what does the trick as far as sketchblogging goes, but not too much text, a paragraph like Thorsx said

    but with drawings you've already done before, like the commuters scene, what to write then? that's when i hit a roadblock

    i'm going to try to find a way to show sketches larger too or draw my notes on the pages to be more legible

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  15. A writer always tries to conjecture what is going on in the everyday lives of people around him. It is no different for an artist. For instance when visiting Chicago once, my wife and I were walking down a bustling street. In front of us a young couple were having an argument as they walked. When I pointed out the couple to my wife, we began to fill in the dialogue and background for the argument. Filling in that dialogue or inner monologue is exciting. Those inner thoughts, moods, can come across in a good gestural sketch but it doesn't hurt to guess as well and write about it. Even your thoughts on the success or failure of the sketch are important since that shows your mood and feelings.

    Ronald Searle hits the nail on the head in this quote from "To Kawai and Back". I was finally unable to get under the skin of the subject at any point. I forgot about the necessity to seek the human being behind the material and scribbled on regardless.

    Getting under the skin of the subject, to find its humanity, be it a city, person or event that is the Holy Grail. I know it is obvious but it sure isn't easy.

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  16. Drawings first! and when it fascinates me, then, I'm ready to read a whole brick of 200 words...or no more than 20 better ! :-) and then, as someone says over here, I came back to the drawing...

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  17. Me encantan los dibujos, y creo que me gustan aún más cuando cuentas algo de la historia.

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  18. Los dibujos hablan por si solos... las palabras nos contextualizan la instantanea. El aforismo dice "lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno" ;-)

    A raiz de tu "pregunta-reflexión" recordé el maravilloso libro "Will Eisner's New York Live In The Big City", publicado por W.W.Norton. El libro es una compilación de 5 obras de Eisner, entre las que se encuentra el maravilloso "City People Notebook", historias de Nueva York en las cuales se puede ver al mismo Eisner tomando apuntes en la calle. Ya en la portada de la versión en tapa dura nos encontramos a Eisner tomando apuntes del bullicio de la ciudad.


    ¡Un gran homenaje a los urban sketchers, sin ninguna duda!

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