Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tape measure


The other day, I was reading about another sketchblogger, bonking her head against her desk. We all seem to set weekly goals for ourselves and then just get stuck. We want to draw, but if we’re going to spend that precious hour drawing, it’d better be a good work. GOOD work. Paralysis sets in. I hate that feeling.

I’m getting back into the swing of things with teaching. My main goal is to have my students feel really comfortable committing their ideas – lots of them - to paper. If they can convey a personal style, it’s great. If they come in with the equivalent of stick-figures, that’s great. As long as they’re getting thoughts down on paper, and starting to feel more and more comfortable just sketching. So, to Karen, I commented that … The process of going from heart and head and hand to paper is more important than the need to create something 'worthwhile' or 'real'. The practice itself is worthwhile…
Certainly at some point you want to create really great work, but it seems to come almost effortlessly when you’re really in a good flow.

So, I had a fitful night sleeping after my first class, thinking of what exercises to do for the second class, to get everyone used to seeing the details of design and manufacturing, and documenting them. I stay awake thinking of front-top-and-side views? Guess so. I’m going to do a demo on geometric forms, then drawing things based off of them. I told them to bring in things that were “mostly rectangular”, or “mostly like a cube”. I rummaged around for something simple, but with interesting features, to prepare a handout for class. I find a mostly boxy tape measure and draw this. In my Moleskine. I sigh; This is all I’ve drawn in a few days, my tape measure. Bleh. I flip through and look and more fun, graceful drawings of gnarly trees. The tape measure shoulda been done on copy paper, it would’ve been easier to photocopy. It’s like this oddity in my sketchbook. I find myself thinking, You know what I really have to do? Get back to freelance work and draw great, graceful products. The Tape measure? Bleh. You know what I really want to do? Paint. Tape measure? Bleh. It’s kinda boring and utilitarian. Bleh.

I’ve also discovered that through LinkedIn, more designers are ambling over to see what’s up on the Fridge Door. OMG! I feel like a hack. And the thought of posting my Tape measure? ‘You call yourself a designer?’ Bleh!

We are all just way too hard on ourselves sometimes.

Okay, so I go back and read Karen’s blog, where she’s commented back (I can't figure out how to get the specific post URL. See August 28). I settle back in and think, yeah, we have to sit still, quiet the voices that tell us, “Better make it a good one!” and just draw, no matter what form it takes. I have to remember, it’s all part of nurturing and strengthening the process; even more critical when it’s part of your profession.

At some point, I latched onto the idea that I wanted to be able to draw for my job. And I do. When you stop and think about it, it’s really great. I get to create reality from dreams and desires, solve discontent. My job is to problem-solve in a creative way, and basically, draw (shrug). How great is that? Duh. So I smacked my forehead (there’s a lot of that going around) and decided to just do away with all this “bleh” business. Here’s the tape measure. Designers are creative, but I want to give my students a good dose of understanding reality, how things are made. Tonight we’re going to look at a bunch of mostly-cube items that the class brings in and start talking from there. We’ll all settle in to draw cubes and spheres, cylinders and cones. The drawing part, no matter what it’s of, should always be a joy; just that feeling of running your hands across smooth clean sheets of paper and running your pencil across it. Tell me, how does it feel to just draw? ‘Bleh’? Hardly.

Okay. Enough time away from it. Get out there, or in there, get a cuppa coffee (or tea) and just do it.

3 comments:

Plain Jane said...

Your tape measure drawing is totally cool, and I for love the drafting quality of it, with the written labels. It' is not, i repeat, not a drawing of a rectangle, sphere or cube! Hang in there Wendee. It's the process, the act of drawing that, I believe, you want to communicate. It's drawing anything and enjoying it.

Toni said...

I don't draw enough. I should. I should draw everyday. It does take the edge off of trying to create something good when you just draw.
So here is a cheer for your tape measure.

Wendee said...

Thank you, Jane and Toni. First time anyone's cheered for a tape measure, huh?