On Being a Sculptor Who Draws

“Girls, I have something to tell you...” 2014

“Girls, I have something to tell you…” 2014
19.5” x 25.5” (unframed), 24×30 overall framed (white mat, black metal frame)
Prismacolor ArtStix, Caran D’ache NeoColours, Canson Mi- teintes Paper, Heat Gun

To be candid, I find it difficult to identify with a singular method of art-making.  It’s easiest to explain my processes as “mixed-media sculpture,” but even then I feel that that barely begins to scratch the surface.  I love to draw.  I love to sculpt.  Drawing helps me to see, sculpture helps me to understand.

Upon someone learning that I am an artist, it tends to be assumed that I must be a painter (?!  mad respect to all painters, but this assumption always bewilders me).  My response to this is the explain that I do not paint or draw objects, but instead that I draw or paint ON my objects.

Over the years, drawing and illustration have become a major component of my studio work. This has been very surprising to me, as I’ve never really gravitated towards working “flat.” Drawing was always a preliminary thing to help sort out ideas, but was never the final result.

For past 4 years, I’ve taught drawing nearly every semester.  Though the course is based on drawing from observation (rather than memory/imagination), I feel a great deal of connection to the curriculum.  It’s problem solving.  It’s learning how to see.  It’s learning to push through the challenge.  Even as a sculptor, it’s one of my favorite courses to teach.  And by teaching it, I think that this has reconnected me to the medium.

Within my own work, the drawing methods that I am employ are also broad.  The best purchases of the past year has been an Intuos5 by Wacom…  and a heat gun.  Obviously, these are not used together. 🙂

My mixed-media drawings use a combination of Caran D’Ache NeoColours II and Prismacolor ArtStix.  The colors are blended with heat, friction (blending stumps, tortillions, scrubber brushes), and/or solvents (such as mineral spirits).  The development of this process has been very enjoyable.  Leave it to a sculptor to find a way to bring a tool into the drawing process.  🙂

Digital drawing is also intriguing to me.  In graduate school, I began to screen print layers of imagery with enamels onto glass.  The easiest way to get the images how I wanted them was to draw them digitally before making my transparencies (rather than scan them in, clean everything up, and then print onto the transparency).  I started out using a Wacom Bamboo tablet (around $90) and within a few weeks of using it, everyone around me had one, too.  (If you’re interested in learning how to draw with a tablet, I highly recommend the Wacom Bamboo.)

I like to use digital drawing as a planning aid.  And omg do I love the “Control + Z” feature. 😉  Being able to shift and change my colors/proportions very quickly has been instrumental in determining how to proceed within a project.


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