Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Discovering Something You Didn't Know Was There

One of the greatest gifts of keeping an artist journal or sketchbook over time, even if it is only now and then, comes when I look back over my past work.  What I created, then forgot about, always surprises me--and usually in a good way.

In the last day, I've needed a good surprise.  If you've been reading for the last few weeks about my frustration about not being able to draw my dogs, and then about my sadness at the diagnosis of my dog, Desmond, with advanced bone cancer.  His pain increased suddenly over the weekend, and we released him from that yesterday.  I am so sad.  Though I am glad to have spared him more suffering.

Even in the midst of a sadness that I know will last for a long time, I still managed to smile when I discovered these little comics of him which I had forgotten completely about.

Lately I've been reorganizing some of my haphazard scans and digital art files.  Doing so I've discovered a lot of the comics I drew in 2011, usually drawn and inked by hand, then colored in the iPad.

Here is one:

Sure, this is a comic.  Not "realistic."  And while I have been trying to draw more from life lately, still, this captures exactly what has gone on in my house between these three animals for years.  As I look at it, I am surprised at how accurate it is!  The animals' body shapes and positions.  The purple blanket.  Desmond's always twisted up leg positions, his head always propped on some sort of pillow.

Here is another:

In the foreground, my Dutch Shepherd, Nik, always prodding for another game, more love, or something exciting.  And in the background, steady German Shepherd Desmond, sitting cattywampus, waiting to see whatever I decide to do so he can accompany me.

In these drawings I can see the little, but spectacular, things about Desmond that I will miss.  I am so glad I have these drawings to help me remember him in the future!

I had no idea my little comics held this much meaning.

Not only am I excited to keep going back through my old work (and I am so thankful that I kept it all), but I am going to start incorporating my comic style back into my daily sketchbook practice.  There is something in these drawings, I think, that feels authentic.  I don't want to lose that "voice" as I continue to develop new skills.

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