mad in pursuit journal


The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne*

Sometimes Jim will see me slaving away in Illustrator, tracing a sketch into a drawing with smooth, well-curved lines. He'll glance at the pencil sketch on my table and say, "Oh I really like that one."

So what is it about the computer that transforms a "moment" into a labor?

The carpenter's grandaughter in me says, "You're only as good as your tools." (Justification for buying expensive software!.) But no, I should say you're only as good as your mastery of whatever tools you have. That's what the carpenter knows.

Jan. 2007 "Hero's Journey" cycle done only in Adobe Illustrator. Vivid, slick. Nov. 2007. Index card (top part). Ink and colored pencils. Wacky... alive.
hero cycle giants cycle

How could I make a computer version of the art on the right that would maintain some of the energy? Do I think the one on the right is more "energized" because it's imperfect -- or because I've been using pens and pencils all my life?

I looked around the house. We have spontaneously beautiful pen and ink art. But we also have Japanese prints -- the computer art of the 18th-19th centuries, where a fresh drawing had to be laboriously deconstructed and carved into woodblocks for printing. Nothing imperfect about them. Stunning design. Superlative craftsmanship.

Enough about those guys... back to me. Back to the cycle that I love to ponder. This drawing was done only in Adobe Illustrator. Only the initial circle was "spontaneous." Then I labored for days, consulting my books, trying new techniques, loving it, hating it, surprising myself.

Life Cycle

Slowly, slowly...


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* Geoffrey Chaucer, 14th century