How I Draw

Drawing of an enchanted tree with a door.

Enchanted Tree

My drawings are a marriage of realism and subtle exaggeration. I usually start a drawing by building on something I’ve seen and felt, and then I edit the drawing as I work to make it into a better visual understanding of that. I follow different creative energies throughout the process and I’ve learned to trust their flows.

When a scene attracts me to it, I can see/hear its rhythms. It feels like I can hear the scene singing and the textures, lines, shapes, and shadows are like musical notes. I furiously take many digital photos at different focuses and exposures so I’ll have a wide range of images to work from. Then I move the photos into Photoshop and work out a composition that I can see/hear more clearly.

Composing

The composition stage is usually very fast and probably fits most people’s expectation of how an artist works. I play music, I move around a lot, I sing and talk to myself, and feel very plugged in to a lively kind of creative energy.

Once the composition feels right, I print out a “working” image and start the drawing process. Drawing is largely a “felt” thing to me. The printed image is a solid framework to start from, but there’s always more “feeling into” the drawing to be done before it’s finished.

Feeling My Way Through A Drawing

Two cats drawing in process.

Drawing In Process

The slow energy connected to drawing is totally different from the lively energy of composition. It’s deep and wide and can be sustained over a longer period of time.

Each drawing has its own unique energy too. When I pick up a drawing to work on it, I always connect with its special energy so I’m able to work on any piece at anytime.

Two cats drawing done.

Two Cats In A Beam

I know a drawing is done when it feels done. Occasionally a drawing will drag its feet and not want to leave the drawing board though, and I have to be patient with those pieces. Sometimes I leave them in a dark place, like a drawer, to hibernate for a while. When I can look at them with a fresh eye again, I can see what they need to be finished.