As you may know, my proj: exhibition Moleskine sketchbook is presently on its way to Hong Kong via airmail — so that series of sketchtoons are currently on hold until the book gets back from the whirlwind tour.
I had so much fun sketching those 28 pages in the sketchtoon style, I've decided to continue in my personal Moleskine sketchbook. This morning at the cafe, I hauled out my Moleskine and sketched my Cafe Bag as it sat on the table next to me.
By the way — I fall more in love with my Cafe Bag each time I use it. It's proven to be a perfect library bag, as I can pack in many more books and CDs than I ever thought possible. As a man-purse, it works well for hauling my Dana Wireless, Miquelrius sketchbook, personal journal, 2 pocket Moleskines, Kyocera Rave phone and Tungsten E. The more I use my bag, the more useful it becomes. Not bad for 12 bucks!
As for sketching this morning — It felt good getting back into the flow again. I see these drawings are coming more and more naturally, each time I sketch one out. I feel the control of my G2 pen improving each time I use it.
While familiarity with the G2 pen and Moleskine size and paper surface are part of this, I think the more significant impact on quality is due to the mindset I've had to adapt to. Because there are no pencil guides, drawing a sketchtoon feels somewhat risky. Once my pen hits the paper, there is no undo, no erasing, no retreat. It is what it is — if I screw up, there's not much I can do about it — unless I find a creative way to use an error.
Funny thing is, I haven't made many errors since adapting to this style. My mind must draw the image in my mental RAM cache, before letting my hand lay the image down on the paper surface. It is truly fascinating to see and feel this happening while I'm drawing.
Mike Shea's recent article on writers using pens, paper and longhand to write novels seems related to this phenomenon. Stephen King describes the 'caching mode' in this way:
"It slows you down. It makes you think about each word as you write it, and it also gives you more of a chance so that you're able — the sentences compose themselves in your head. It's like hearing music, only it's words. But you see more ahead because you can't go as fast."
I agree! There is something almost enjoyable watching a sketchtoon form on paper. I sense myself planning out where text might go and even the words I'll write before they go down on the page. It seems almost like exercise — for my entire self: mind and body.
I strongly recommend adapting some analog way to express yourself, especially if you rely on digital tools. Not to replace digital tools or methods, but to improve your thinking and coordination. Even if you can't draw, just doodle, or write. Something.
Besides, it's fun. :-)