This week, after months of berating, bargaining and basically bullying, my lovely Mum caved in and took her first steps into the world of visual journalling!
The conversation that finally broke her was surprisingly deep:
MUM: “I just don’t have a creative bone in my body!”
KITTY: “That’s because creativity isn’t a bone, it’s a muscle that needs to be stretched and flexed to be kept strong and alive.”
Where that moment of wisdom came from, I have no idea, to say the least it was very out of character! But it worked and on Friday June 24th my Mum and I sat and drew together for the first time since I was about three. It was a wonderful experience… at least for me.
Before starting I had asked her to read Danny Gregory’s amazing “Everyday Matters” which I feel best sums up the spirit of visual journalling in a way that my mum could relate to. I also showed her online at Flikr some of the fantastic work that gets uploaded there. All of this provided her with inspiration and lit a fire under her so hot she wanted to start NOW… this was great – until that initial wall of frustration sets in.
It happens the first time we do anything new, but I think in a situation like this where a person is really out with their comfort zone, the insecurity and feeling of inferiority can be extra intense. Nevertheless she has stuck with it for three days and I have everything crossed that she will beat that initial creative block and start to have some fun – something she claims she has forgotten how to do!
In terms of my journalling this week it’s been quite uneventful. Despite being out in coffee shops three times over the course of the week I only managed one feeble “out of the house” sketch:
It’s just a bad habit I suppose. I know it isn’t fear or shyness… so is it just a lack of commitment? Distraction? Laziness? I’m not sure, but it’s certainly on my list of things to remedy – I’m not happy with every journal page being produced at my desk or the kitchen table, not when there’s a whole wide world out there waiting to be drawn!
I finally worked up the nerve to use my lovely tin of Derwent Inktense pencils this week that have been sitting intimidating me (and gathering dust) since I received them as a gift at Christmas time. It’s not that I wasn’t sure what to do with them or anything – I just love when pencils are brand new, all the same length, all perfectly shaped leads… aaaaaaah, bliss. Silly you think? Tell that to the beautiful unopened set of Winsor and Newton watercolours sitting in my desk drawer! ( I can’t even bring myself to unwrap the little watercolour blocks!)
Anyway, I really enjoyed using these Inktense pencils. I thought the colours were incredibly vibrant which was a great thing when it came to drawing my sewing box:
Initially the questions one might be tempted to ask when looking at this are: Why are all the insects upside down on the box? or, What on earth happened with the text at the top of the page? But actually, here’s a much more pressing question: Why do I have a sewing box when I don’t sew. At all. Ever. Couldn’t even reattach a button. Well basically this box houses my Grandmother’s button box. She passed away long before I entered this world but I always like stroking my hand through these buttons and taking a moment to think of her once in a while. And to be honest, to wonder what she would think of me as a granddaughter.
I am, to be frank, also experiencing the frustration of creation. Still with my text. Or inability to insert it nicely into any spread that I produce. To be honest what’s compounding the issue is that I am completely unaware of how to fix it. I gaze at people’s beautiful lettering, their quirky writing, their effortlessly charming fonts… and then I save all the images into an “inspiration folder” and cry looking through them, feeling so utterly inadequate. I think a part of my problem is that I do everything with ballpoint pens. I love love love drawing with them, and am happy to continue doing so at this stage in my life (because I’m broke!). But I wonder if using a fancier pen with nice quality ink would help my writing any? Or would it just add a £10 price tag to my feeling of hopelessness? I guess it requires some research and frankly, I’m open to trying anything at this point.
I have also started using the awesome EDM challenge list, working through them starting at #1. Ideally I’d alternate between using the list one day and working from my own ideas the next… but, as if I’ll ever be that organised/disciplined! I’m enjoying doing some proper drawing again, which is ironically, something we did very little of at college! Experimental drawing yes, but old school sit down and observe stuff, no. Here’s my favourite “proper drawing” that I did on Saturday:
It’s a necklace that’s huge and so so original! I got it at a little stall at a fundraising event and am so glad I came across it! Though that is the problem with volunteering for a charity at events like these – there are always other stalls full of tempting goodies! I end up spending a fortune!
So that’s all for just now, thanks again to everyone who takes the time to read this.
Any comments or feedback on this post? Any recommendations for pens I could try? Do you know of any support groups that could help me with my fear of brand new art supplies?