Not long ago, I picked up a pencil and began sketching. I’ve attempted to sketch throughout my life but was rarely able to produce something I found satisfying. Recently though, I started drawing to a quality that I kinda like. I noticed I have a drawing-process that I didn’t have before.
Essentially, I scribble my subject – very poorly, it’s literally just back-and-forth scribbling like I’m jokingly drawing a picture. But in that scribble, I see the basic form revealed. I can see what’s wrong with it and I go back with an eraser and start correcting little by little. Erase, redraw, erase, redraw – until finally, what started out as a scribble becomes a halfway-decent picture.
So in one sense, my tool isn’t the pencil as much as it’s the eraser. My lines usually aren’t clean, I sneak up on smooth lines with my eraser. To make the process easier, I switched to drawing on a tablet – but it’s the same style, just using digital graphite. I don’t use a stylus, just my finger while I frequently zoom in and out.
Give me something broken, just a scribble in this case, and I easily perceive that something’s wrong with it – something’s off so I’ll move a line until it looks right. “Ah, there! Now on to the next part!”. But recently, I seem to have a better sense of where to place these lines in order to achieve a degree of three-dimensionality. Sketching isn’t frustrating like it used to be.
In life, I frequently see what’s wrong with all the stuff I come in contact with. My mind is filled with constant criticism for everything. But most of what I criticize isn’t within my reach or power to change. That’s a frustrating circumstance, obviously. I suppose I should try to keep my attention on things within my fixability range.
In addition, perhaps this artistic endeavor illustrates another point: That it’s possible to take something messy and worthless and little-by-little transform it into something nice. Maybe I’m that scribble. Maybe I don’t need an epiphany or some drastic alteration to thoroughly transform my life. Maybe, all I need is to incrementally fix the small things I’m able to. And maybe, I’ll end up with something I can appreciate.