scrawls and sketches

the pencil

everyone starts with the pencil.

it’s relatively cheap, readily available, and easy-peasy. we learn our letters using pencil, scratching those funny circles and lines and loops, over and over, so that the forms become shapes become a language and no longer like little drawings at all.

you can use the point for fine details:

pencil point over drawing

you can use the side for shades of silver and gray and velveteen:

stubbish pencil over drawing

it holds its breath under water:

brush hovering dangerously over a watercolor painting

and yet, i do not like the pencil.

some people do wondrous things with it. some do it in technicolor, even. and still others, they do things with it i have never known before to be.

and yet, my heart beats not for the pencil, humble and indiscriminate as it is, useful and versatile as it is. its very nature prompts my lazy little soul to scrawl details that wear my fingertips thin, to exact an accuracy i’m ill able to muster. my brain gets very tired when playing with the pencil other than for quick little thumbnail sketches, notes, and rewinding cassettes.

me, i like the messy–my desk is a state of clutter, yet to be included and defined in lexicon, floating somewhere between wow and clinical hoarder. paint splatters, charred bits of vine and willow, powders of chalk and pigment grace the surfaces in my favorite room, barely contained and amazingly unrefined. and pencil, well, its hardy band of stoic warriors sit in a cup on a shelf, guardians of the rest of the pack.

and while pencil only sometimes plays in my sketchbooks and bits of paper, they are the foundation i must return to with some regularity. it reminds me that my perspective and my sense of proportion need severe improvement. it breaks my love of color back into bands of value. it forgives my mistakes without letting me forget them. it shows me that i am still, after all these years–still–a student.


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This entry was posted on 10.26.11 by in Sketches.

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