After looking at some scroll paintings of the Zen monk Sesshu Toyo, I was inspired by the black ink patterns in some of his work, especially his clouds. I doodled for a while, and ended up creating some weird snakes.
(Click on the image to see it all big n pretty ;))
I have always loved and found snakes beautiful, soulless as their eyes look. What an awesome mix of gorgeous and scary! I love drawing them, and I’m really happy with these.
Here’s a collection of doodles I particularly love that came out of experimenting with new coloured pens. I’ve been making great use of the pens ever since!
I posted a tweet on my art twitter account that showed a part of this page some time ago. I tend to share doodles there more often, but I am sure to share complete doodle pages from my sketchbook here every now and again.
Today’s drawing continues to explore some themes/imagery I find myself using again and again. This God bird you could say is a direct “friend” of another drawing from one of my previous posts; when I recently started to draw with pencils. This one ended up being a lot more playful, so playful in fact that I didn’t crop out the ripped end of the sheet. It seems to work with the God bird’s personality.
This drawing also uses some imagery from carpets, which I’ve used deliberately (and unconsciously) before. This was definitely deliberate. I imagined the little particles suspended around her. Doesn’t the God bird look like she is waddling over to you through a cloud of flourishes?
The carpet bird is a new monster I created after remembering that I loved drawing birds as a child and teenager – even though I didn’t like actual birds very much (things are different now!).
Not being a fan of realism, I decided to decorate my abstract bird monster with a pattern that I remember from an old Persian-style rug we used to have. I can forget lots of things about my childhood, especially visual things, but I’ll remember a carpet we used to have when I was tiny.
I guess what I am trying to say is that this drawing is as much about a carpet as it is about a bird.
It’s been a while since I posted one of my monsters. This one is climbing over my hastily depicted wall, making his way towards whoever is looking at him.
The background is unfinished because what I really wanted to draw was the monster himself. I’m not the happiest with how he turned out; I’m missing movement in the upper body and arms (among a few other things). However, he’s still beloved as a concept and I couldn’t be happier to get him from my mind onto paper. Sometimes, you can’t ask for anything more.
Suffice it to say this post is about some of my struggles with mental health. If you’re not in the mood for that, enjoy the pretty pencil drawing of a giant bird behind a tree and a sinister apple. Skip my ramblings below and laugh at the tree blocking most of the bird’s body, or enjoy the lines of the apple’s “shadow” instead – I won’t fault you. Not that I’ll know, anyway!
I have depression and anxiety. Anxiety is the part of me that is constantly deluded and fighting everything around me. Depression is the part that sticks me right into the ground and boxes me inside thick walls. However, sometimes my anxiety freezes me and my depression makes me commit desperate, irrational acts. After all of these years I am able to understand and identify the subtleties of it all; it’s actually quite complicated and based on past events as well as my own body chemistry.
My mental health does not drive all of my art. None of my art is drawn in the worst depressive or anxious phases. Those are times when making art feels so impossible, even though I may want to. So I draw a lot when I am feeling “well” and scan them to post here.
Being in a bad mental place, or in the downswing of the cycle, isn’t the only time depression and anxiety show themselves. Constantly dealing with those mind states simply forces my hand; being yet another place of inspiration. Many of my drawings include ideas related to paranoia and irrationality as a result, even the bird and apples above.
When we look at the history of art, we see almost a glorification of artists who are stifled with poor mental health. Such troubled people created such beautiful work, right? I think that this is a result of academics who do not understand psychiatric struggles writing about that which they do not know with unnecessary wistfulness.
I’m not thankful for the negativity my mental health brings to myself and others around me, but I recognise how much it influences me. But so what if my depression and anxiety give me stuff to work with? The toll is often extremely high. I’d rather not make them the center of my universe.
I have only a little formal training, in the form of visual arts classes taken while studying for undergrad. I pursued a degree in art history that included drawing and ceramics classes.
Studying art history was one of the most intellectually thrilling times of my life, not because of the rote memorization (which is required, in any case so I had to deal with it – and I did) but because of the deep understanding of humanity that comes from analysing the creative process and the final product.
I think I always wanted to create, but never really knew how to do so.The drawing and ceramics classes instilled in me a great understanding of what it means to think like an artist – and that’s really when I knew that I was not a historian, but a creator. I knew I’d find a way to find my footing and create, someday.