I’m looking in my books. My drawing books that is. Books in which I’ve made drawings not printed books of other’s drawings. This would be a lot less confusing if I just called them sketchbooks but I’m not really a sketcher. I make drawings in marker and try not to always think of what I’m drawing as I draw. I try to pull odd things out of the back of my mind and let them come through in the drawing.

I do this in my five by seven inch sketchbook. I make from six to eight drawings on a page. I draw a box in the upper left hand side and then draw within the box. Since composition is my strongest natural talent I find it easier to draw inside a box. By defining the edges of a drawing I have an easier time fitting all the elements together. I make a drawing in the first box and then draw a second box beside it. Then move down a row and repeat until the page if filled with drawings.

This is the basis for most of the imagery in my art. I’ve been working this way for about ten years now and have nine sketchbooks filled with my little drawings. When I want to start something new I’ll grab one of the books from my shelf and thumb through it and look for something that interests me.

What’s weird about that way of working is that I don’t always remember each individual drawing. Looking through the books can be quite a surprise. A lot of the drawings I do remember and some of them I even know I will be making into something bigger as I finish the little drawing but may of them are unfamiliar.

I am sometimes surprised at which drawings interest me years later. Occasionally a drawing that I have passed by for years because I didn’t think it was very good will catch my eye. I see something different in it than I’ve ever seen before and I work it into something new.

So that is what I was just doing before. Thumbing through one of my books. Book number seven to be exact. I’m currently drawing in book number ten. Some of the time I flip through the book I’m currently drawing in and some of the time I flip through an older book.

The current book often has the most unknown drawings in it. Even though a page of drawings might only be two weeks old I haven’t gone back and looked at the page a second time. And since I’m often trying to draw with out much use of my conscious mind I can easily forget a drawing after completing it. The older book I’ve gone through many time and certain drawing become familiar.

Sometimes I come up empty looking through my sketchbooks. I don’t always want to do drawings based on far out imagery. I do come up with idea for pictures the normal way. Think of things I want to draw ahead of time and then go draw them. Most of the time I prefer not to work this way though. I find it a little tedious. I don’t know why. I used to work that way all the time.

I also recycle my images every now and again. If there is a particular face or body that I liked I will sometimes redraw it for another medium. I may have made a painting of something and then I redraw it and make a print. Or a watercolor painting to an acrylic painting. It can be an interesting process of transformation.

Some images only work for me in one medium. Or at least adapt themselves well in one medium. My most dense and complex images are usually in my prints. I make my prints on the computer which is quite adept at complexity. To make a painting of the same complexity would take more time than I would care to spend on it. Plus I don’t think needless complexity would help my painting. Needless complexity is right at home on a computer.

So that is what I’m doing tonight. Looking through my drawing books and searching for an image that I think I can turn into a piece of art. Or at least an image that interests me. I’ve also been looking through my computer scans of drawings I’ve made. Often I’ll pull an image out of my drawing book and work it up into a more finished drawing and then do nothing with it. Nothing but scan it into the computer to sit and wait. Sometime later it might get made into something. Or maybe not. At least I’ve given myself lots of choices.