Write/Re/Write

14755_red_sharpie

As my creative process grows, I can tell that I started out as a writer. I start with a general idea, and make a bunch of sketches. I get my sketches exactly as I want them, ink them in, get everything tight, and see that a big chunk is all wrong, and I do it all over again.

Other artists don’t let it get that far, I think.

I’m learning how to look at the unfinished pieces, how to see how it might look when it’s done. But it’s not perfect. I still often get all the way to the end, realize it’s terrible, and then start all over again.

It’s still more like writing a poem than making a visual artwork for me. I start with everything – all the phrases, all the images, all the curlicues that could fit into the final version. The red sharpie comes out next – cut out the dead space, cut out the crowded places, put back in that last twist in the lower right hand corner. It’s a bit like doing a rewrite. Every bit seems essential, at first, until you start editing. Then you marvel that you ever included that bit in the first place. Over time, the true work emerges out of the eraser crumbs somewhere in the fifth draft, and the art is finally there.

What about you? What’s your process this week?

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