Some things can take a long time. A lot longer than I think. Well, not really but sometimes there is a difference between thinking that something will take a long time and the time it takes to do said thing. If that didn’t make any sense to you don’t worry it’s just that sometimes words fail me. It also might be that I’ve been working on a drawing for two days and I’m a little punchy. That drawing is the thing that’s taking a long time.

I am a great fan of simplicity in drawing. There is an elegance to it that is not easy to capture. That great difficulty of simplicity is that there is nowhere to hide. In describing something with as few lines as possible those lines have to be dead on correct or the mistake is hanging out there for all to see. The drawback to simplicity is that fewer people like it than complexity. You’ll be less loved if you’re simple. Well, maybe just your drawings.

People like to see hard work in their art. The most common insult that a person hurls at a piece of art is, “Well, I could have done that”. This insult, whether true or not, is usually aimed at a piece in which there is little hard work evident. The insult is really accusing the artist of laziness. You won’t hear that insult thrown at a work that appears to posses complexity. Even if the viewer really could have “done that” he appreciates the work involved in doing it.

The irony of this complexity versus simplicity thing is that there is often more work involved in simplicity than complexity. It is just hidden from view. There can also be bad art made in the realm of simplicity in which little work was done. So simplicity and complexity are really choices that have no direct relation to quality. It’s just that people appreciate bad complex work more than bad simple work. Paint a thousand angels on a canvas and even if the painting is not very good people will appreciate it more than just one badly painted angel.

This is all just preface to say that I have been working on a complex drawing. To me complexity is just simplicity multiplied. That’s not quite true because there are some differences. Working on a simple drawing involves constant refining and manipulating little details over and over until the final drawing looks effortless. Working on a complex drawing requires less attention to any single detail and more attention to how they hold up together. No single mark demands more importance than any other single mark. There is no making it look effortless in complexity. As a matter of fact the more effortful you make it look the better. That’s what complexity is about; making it it look hard.

I think I work on complex drawings and paintings when I want to be loved and simple ones when I’m a little more anti-social. Of course that all takes place inside my head and has little bearing on the outside world since the outside world exclusively showers me with indifference.

And now back to how long things take. The odd thing is that it’s easier to predict how long a complex piece will take. I figured the drawing I’ve been working on would take two days. Of course the actual two days are always longer that the theoretical two days but that’s reality for you. And an explanation for my first paragraph.

A simple piece can go very quickly or not. It can take hours or days. Sometimes a drawing can sit around for ages until I pick it up again and finish it. The drawing was just impossible to finish before then.

Strangely enough both simple and complex start out the same. The difference is a complex piece you just keep adding to until it is done while a simple piece you have to take away from it until it is done. Working by addition is easier than subtraction because if you take away too much you’ll have nothing left. Having nothing left is very bad.

I am glad for the chance to finish something. Never finishing anything as I am learning Flash has been killing me. And there is another little glimpse into being me.