I set out today to execute the twenty drawings exercise that Bill Flynn recommended the other day. I knew before I started that I wanted to leave any preciousness or need to succeed behind, so that I could work in a looser, more uninhibited way. Lately I feel like I’ve been walking on eggshells with my drawings, which I think to a certain degree has imposed limitations on where I can take the work.
Twenty drawings in the scheme of things doesn’t seem like all that many; the difference is I limited myself to drawing the same figure and that I did all twenty drawings all at once, with no breaks, in two hours. I got much more physically involved with these drawings, and afterwards I felt like I had finished a workout at the gym. The toughest part of this process was continually drawing and not judging the work along the way. Keeping myself that intensely focused continuously was challenging too. At the same time, I know that I achieved results that would never have occurred in any other context.
One of the most interesting parts of this exercise was the pacing and rhythm of making these drawings; around the 8th drawing I was starting to feel like I was scraping the barrel, and then at the 10th drawing I got a rush of adrenaline and ideas which seemed to flow relatively easily. I In fact, something rather unexpected and strange happened, which I’ve yet to fully process. I noticed at that stage that I had been ignoring the upper half of the page, and so I put many aggressive marks at the top to hint at a sky. This didn’t seem adequate, and I found myself making marks to articulate an upside down body of water, with the head of the figure immersed in it.
The need to punch out twenty drawings all in a row forces you to push your boundaries. There’s no other choice except to be repetitive. In fact, I found myself breaking all of the rules I had previously set for myself in the prior crayon drawings. Everything I had carefully planned and researched temporarily went out the window for this exercise.