Monday, January 24, 2022

Freehand sketching

A couple of interesting art books available “free” on Scribd, for anyone interested in art, or in getting into art, and trying some non-music related creativity.

... which I highly recommend. I gave myself permission to start painting from a drummer friend when I was at USC. He had a pretty cushy set up, studying with Erskine, and Freddy Gruber, and also had some kind of therapist who encouraged him to do something creative in an area he didn't know anything about, so he could turn off the constant critical judgment that he felt was messing with his creativity in music. 

So I got some paint and did it, except I quickly started being serious about it— in a rock & roll kind of way. I decided to paint a lot and study a lot, and do the best pictures I could, without getting into developing a lot of technique. I've done pretty well with it, for a few years in the 90s I was making more money as an artist than I was making as a musician.    

So, the books: Freehand Drawing and Sketching by Karl Christian Heuser, and the Paul Klee notebooks, of which there are several.

In Heuser's book, the thing most interesting thing to me related to drumming, are the exercises aimed at developing control of the hand and pencil, and hand/eye coordination. Doing exercises like the ones you see above, I found was very similar to working with touch and timing on the drums. You become very  aware in of the movement and mechanics of your arm, shoulder, and hand. The exercises themselves also have a logic analogous to things we do in drumming— working with simple forms and their logical permutations.  

The book is also very good for getting people into the idea of drawing, who may be hesitant to do it. The level of information quickly becomes overwhelming, but it's always stimulating, if you keep the focus on playing around, rather than mastery. It doesn't require any kind of artistic  ideas, or “vision”, or wanting anything other than to do it; the practice forms are enough. They're nice to look at, they become art. 

In music, getting playing ideas from exercises and patterns is not very musically pure, but it happens on some level. Maybe the drawing will help us appreciate the music in these mechanical form— pure music people, like me.  

The Paul Klee notebooks are similar, but vastly more inspirational— the written content is intellectually way above my head. He explores basically everything in the world about the logic, function, and use of lines on paper. The illustrations are mostly simple, many look rather childish— which gives you an easy opening to trying it yourself. Getting into art, you have to be into art that looks like you could do it. 

1 comment:

bananajou said...

You should check Lynda Barry out for some great insights into creativity by writing and drawing comics