I am, by all accounts, a writer. I’ve gone through plenty of schooling for the craft of writing. I earned my BFA in creative writing back in 2004 from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in Standish. More recently, in 2014, I earned my MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. Despite the schooling and despite my main focus, the written art form of writing is not my sole outlet for creativity. I also create artwork in other mediums. I play a teensy bit of music, I like to dance, and when I get the hankering to do so – I love, love, love to draw.
My drawing desires come in phases. I can go almost an entire year without drawing something of significance, but most of the time you can find me drawing at least a little something, somewhere. My preferred method of drawing currently is to use a black Crayola marker on watercolor paper with a wet paintbrush. I draw in pencil first sometimes, but like to challenge myself by just drawing in marker to begin with so there is less margin for error. This is called a marker wash, and the reason I like it so much is that it’s fluid (literally) and smooth, and when the product is finished, I like the look of it more than most of the other types of drawings I do. It has a watercolor painting quality to it for a much cheaper cost.
It’s a technique I learned back in high school, and it’s a technique which earned me a Silver Key and two honorable mentions in the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Contest back in the late 1990’s when I first realized that I was actually halfway decent when it came to art. Of course, this isn’t the only style I use. It’s just my preferred method. It sort of gives me my own unique art style, which is important when it comes to artwork of any kind.
I do love painting, but I haven’t done a ton of it. Watercolors, acrylics, oils – I’ve used most of it out there at some point. But since I tend to give most of my art away as gifts, painting isn’t the medium of choice because of the costs involved. The paints cost a lot, as do the canvas or the watercolor blocks. Still, it’s important to try each medium if you can because then you can discover what you like and what you don’t like. Here are a couple different paintings I’ve done.
When it comes to basic pencil or pen drawings, I like those too – but I tend to draw more in ink than anything else. I like to practice drawing comic book characters, or likenesses of friends, co-workers, or famous celebrities. I also try to use mixed media when I can, in a sort of comic book style.
As you can see, I like to express myself with many different styles, many different mediums, many different ways. Caricatures, likenesses, pop culture characters and icons, you name it. I feel like artwork has been super important to me in my life as a form of expression, as something that is uniquely my own. To see someone’s face light up when I hand them an original drawing, coming from my own hands and time, is one of the greatest rewards I can experience. I’m not a pro, I’m not a professional, but those people I gift art to don’t care. It’s the time spent, the effort used, the care taken. I’m a visual person and appreciate all kinds of art, and for me – artwork is one of the greatest gifts I can be given. I have a box dedicated to artwork people have given me over the years, mostly from my siblings and friends, but also my current girlfriend, Dorothy, who has given me quite a bit of art (which is great).
I run into financial troubles a lot in my life, and it’s good to have drawing as a skill I can fall back on to create Christmas gifts or birthday presents in lieu of something purchased. At the end of the day, I always appreciate handmade gifts more than store-bought ones, and I know others do too.
So – why has artwork been so important in my life? Because aside from being a creative outlet, something with my own “voice” and style – it’s something I can constantly improve, something that consistently gets better with time and practice, something I’ve been able to feel good about even when I feel good about almost nothing else. Art fosters a great community and I have met and retained some of my greatest friends through artwork. Art has given me respect, sometimes when there is nothing else to respect about me. Art gives me identity, gives me peace. And most of all – art is fun.
Even if you think you cannot draw to save your life, chances are you just might not have practiced enough. Pick up a pencil, doodle your favorite comic book character or even your best friend’s face. Keep trying, keep moving forward, most of all have fun – because that is the best part about art.
PS – if you’re interested, you can check out all my artwork on my Deviant Art page HERE. I have writing, photography, traditional artwork, etc.