I used to love drawing. My parents stuck me in a couple art classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art when I was a wee one. I’m thankful for it. I drew semi-regularly for almost a decade, until I discovered playing the guitar, chicks, and bangs. After that, my scribbling diminished to almost nothing for a quarter-century. Until early 2016.
I’d been thinking about intentionally picking up the pencil again for more than a year, but suffered from the usual noise. Social media. Work. The golden age of episodic streaming media. Distraction. Hesitation. Etc.
Though it was a gradual confluence which brought me back to sketch-land, (Stop Using Facebook) I’ll blame dear, old friend Casey Krohn’s marvelous chalk mandalas and a trip to Australia for pushing me through the barrier.
“I’ll make a mandala!” I thought to myself after I’d settled on the plane.
Casey’s creations’ carefree, temporary nature belie the meticulous maze of myriad connections that makeup mandalas. I learned that, quick. It wasn’t until almost a week later, after a few days in Tasmania, that I found myself willing, if not ready, to try my hand at a second mandala.
My second attempt was a little better. So I dashed off a third mandala iteration on a postcard and sent it to Casey. From there, it’s been an intermittent four-year adventure, occasionally knocking off the artsy-fartsy dust.
From the get-go, I gave myself an arbitrary limitation: No erasers. Just yesterday, I acquired a few art pens. Inspired by Eli Neugeboren’s 2013-present inktober efforts (w/ a nod to inktober originator Jake Parker,) I wanted to give straight-to-ink a shot.
Slow down. Filter. Interpret. Think. Meditate. Create. Iterate. Improve. Share.
…Those are some reasons to draw.
My ankle and back started going to shit in late 2017, so that provided another reason to draw. Sketching gives me something to do on a bench while my more able-bodied travel partners are off being more mobile. That’s the only bright side of a failing body for me, so far.
Another reason to draw: Challenge
Most of my drawings are quick. A minute. Maybe a couple minutes. There are obvious exceptions, but I appreciate the challenge of trying to get something down quickly, sometimes.
Mostly, draw if you enjoy it. I do.
Below, selected sketches from early 2016 through yesterday.
Dan Dreifort’s last new year resolutions were: Art more. Play more. Two months into the year, he’s doing okay on the first part. We’ll grade the second one ‘Needs improvement’. Dan hasn’t tried to make a mandala in almost four years.