Girls In My Sketchbook

A Sketchbook Girl
When I feel like making a quickie little sketch, either in one of my sketchbooks or on the back of an envelope (or for years, in the margins of class notes and on homework), what usually comes out is a girl or a woman. I've never figured out why I'm so drawn to creating the various characters that show up, but from the time I was little, I've drawn people.

I've never been drawn to doing portraits or particularly realistic drawings of people. Maybe because it's only in the last ten years or so that I've understood that (a) I wanted to be an artist and (b) I could actually be an artist.

Ever since I really started to explore the work of artists that I admire and to try to figure out my own style, I've been banging into a wall. Many of my favorite artists and favorite art involve drawings, paintings, collages of women and girls. I want so badly to make art like Cori Dantini or Pam Carriker (they are both just fabulous), but I'm terrified of "copying" them. Of being unoriginal.

A few things have begun to tear down that wall. One is the idea of creating what wants to be created. Another is coming to the understanding that I really do have my own visual signature and that as long as I don't set out to directly copy someone else's work, as long as I bring my own voice to the page, it's ok to take inspiration from someone else's art.

It's my job as an artist to show up to the page, to create the work that wants to be created, and to take care of the quantity of my work, trusting that practice and Inspiration will take care of the quality. And it's ok if what wants to be created are the various smiling, wistful, or knowing faces that arrive on my sketchbook pages and elsewhere.