I find there are certain kinds of art that take a lot of concentration, focus, and attention to everything. But then there are other kinds of art that almost let the mind fall into a bit of a flow-state and the world passes by and you play an episode of some random tv show in the background or listen to an audiobook and then suddenly an hour has passed and you’ve filled up a nice chunk of the page with something that is actually pretty interesting.
I suppose in some ways you could just call that doodling, and if so, I was doodling. I prefer to think of it as planned illustration using a method that was repetitive enough that the aforementioned flow-state was inevitable as was the specific level of detail that I set out to achieve when I started drawing.
I tend to do a lot of drawing where I draw big shapes and fill in the details afterwards. But lately I’ve been flipping the process and starting with details, and iteratively working to build something big out of lots of little pieces. You do need to always think about the big picture and sometimes starting with strategy is fine. But other times when you just start building the pieces you know are important, then time and persistence turn into something you might not have planned but is exactly what you need after all. What this amounts to is the collective result of a thousand little unplanned details. Each detail is part of a bigger picture, not random but certainly plucked out of the air in the moment of creation to build a whole picture that is a multiple of its parts.
I’ve been following a couple accounts on instagram that appeared in my suggestions months and months ago based on “similar interests” and when I first saw them they seemed to be sketching in the realm of what I would have classically called “urban sketching” but now am not exactly sure. I suppose that denotes a certain originality and probably what helped catch my eye to their work in the first place. Fast forward, however, and were you to compare this week’s sketching efforts to those account I think you’d find a tremendous amount of similarity. Not replication of substance, per se, but in what I have been “doodling” there is certainly a style and approach that is following the spirit of highly detailed, medium format, one point perspective illustration of architecture.
My buildings are purely fantastical, tho. I’m not sure how much reality is ascendant in those artists work.
Which leaves me at the end of this week doodling in ink on 11×14 sheets of paper while listening to audiobook novels and half-watching old episodes of Doctor Who in the background while I imagine interconnected structures overlapping in a kind of weirdly futuristic but also anachronistic style that is neither dystopian nor utopian, and mostly just hard to put my finger on.
Art is art, tho. So take from it what you will. And while you’re thinking about it, why not check out the long format video I made of some of the process: