On Drawing

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During my first long-ago year of art school, I imagined I’d illustrate children’s books, but when I found myself making choices, I was interested in line and depth and less keen on representing the same character or landscape again and again, so I chose printmaking as my major.

Drawing became etching, my favorite, though lithography ran a close second. But it was really the line–its fragility, beauty, weight, the complexity of the visual balancing act–that captured my imagination.

It still does.

Pencil and ink on paper. April 2016.

Pencil and ink on paper. April 2016.

For all the years I made art, I wrote too, but I didn’t think of myself as a Writer. Writing felt so natural–the simple byproduct of massive reading. I wrote in scraps. I remember an enormous antique typewriter, experimenting with poems, a notebook of words. And later, my first writing class, where putting together a short story that made sense seemed like trying to build a house without instructions.

Pencil and ink on paper. May 2016.

Pencil and ink on paper. May 2016.

Writing never really got easier, but I began to feel like I understood the tools that built the house and the possible types of houses that might be built. Like drawing, like the line, it is both satisfying and mystifying. Space and shape can be taught and understood, but there is always that inexplicable bit.

I’m deep into writing my next novel now, and after a day spent with it, the rhythm of working visually soothes and quiets. I’ll be posting this drawing series on Instagram as it unfolds. If you like, check it out at raccoonandcat.