December 2006 Archives

More Squiggles


I keep doing these squiggles. I thought I'd never do fifty, but I'm already up to thirty-five pages of them. I have no idea why or where it's going, but I'm having fun just putting ink on paper. I just like the way ink looks on paper. I like the scratch of the pen. I like the blobs of ink. I do not like waiting for the blobs of ink to dry, but you can't have everything.

Danny has said that you should do something over and over and over again, because that's the only way you make mistakes, and making mistakes is the good part, the part where you discover things. It's not working that way for me. Mistakes are still mistakes to me. My goals with these are different, more focused, than with most drawings I've done in the past, but I still have goals.

The fact is, I'm not good at undirected behavior. Well, that's a lie. I'm excellent at undirected behavior, and I get a lot of practice at puttering, nattering, gallivanting, loitering, goofing off, and all other forms of useless action. But I'm not fully comfortable with it. I always feel like I should be aiming for something, working towards something. Usually when drawing I'm trying to get down what I see, whether in front of me or in my head. I've dropped that with these squiggles, but I still have goals: To make sure the lines don't touch; to make a pleasing composition; to be smooth and curvy; to not smear the ink with the side of my hand.

And, as you can see with these, there's a little more of the natural world creeping in. Just a little.

I started playing with other inking tools, too. I have an antique drafting kit my father bought me -- he's entirely unfathomable sometimes -- which has these ruling pens which can be set to a given line width which they will then draw consistently no matter how you turn them, which is very cool. I added some of these lines to the squiggles.

I can't say the orientation of most of these is definite, but these seem to be the way they should go.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2006, ink on Moleskine

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2006, ink on Moleskine

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2006, ink on Moleskine

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2006, ink on Moleskine


More From the Damned Moleskine

I've continued with the pages of squiggles, most of which I won't inflict on you, except for this one, because it's a little different and, I think, kind of neat. I remembered that I've had, in one of my desk drawers, a collection of pen nibs which have rattled around in there virtually untouched for years and years. In fact I think when we moved eight years ago I simply took each desk drawer, poured it into a box, moved the box and the desk, and then poured the boxes back into the proper drawers. So these nibs might not have been evacuated in over a decade.

The funny thing is I have this collection of calligraphy pens and nibs and books on calligraphy and I don't remember ever buying a single one. All of them were given to me by my parents, all well over twenty years ago. I hardly ever do calligraphy and when I have done it, I've been partial to very particular sizes, so the rest of the sets have never seen ink. They've just sat around in boxes and drawers and on shelves.

The nib I had in mind was another crow quill, but this one is a lot more flexible than the one I'd been using, which gives me a wider range of lines. Which I found fun to play with. Inside me there's a calligrapher struggling to escape -- these are like calligraphy without the letters. I love curves that parallel each other.

While doing these I've been thinking of Joan Miró. I don't think of this as a great development; I'm not deeply familiar with Miró's work, but what I have seen never really did much for me. Nevertheless my squiggles put me in mind of his biomorphic shapes. So I did a search for his work online and I found this: Dutch Interior, I. I was surprised to find that little five-line squiggle of his.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2006, ink on Moleskine

Xmas Cards


I used to hate the abbreviation Xmas, but this year I've decided it's time to get the Christ out of Christmas! So Xmas it is.

I figured, in the spirit of the season, I'd put up some Christmas cards I sent out in years past. I thought I did more, but when I went looking, I found I only made my own cards for three years before giving up. I realized I didn't actually like any of the people I sent cards to each year and I was tired of lavishing attention on them. These days my wife sends photos of our kids, and we receive hundreds of photos of other people's kids, a custom I understand not at all, because other people's kids are all butt-ugly and I don't want to look at them. And my kids are butt-ugly, too, so I see no reason to inflict them on others.

Anyway, here are the cards I sent out from 1996 through 1998. Three whole years for your enjoyment. [Edit: Make that four. I found an image of the first one I made, in 1995.]

Chris Rywalt, Xmas Card 1995, digital file

Chris Rywalt, Xmas Card 1996, digital file

Chris Rywalt, Xmas Card 1997, digital file

Chris Rywalt, Xmas Card 1998, digital file

From the Damned Moleskine


Jim Woodring, over at his blog, referred to his sketchbook as "the Blessed Moleskine." Between that and some discussion on Moleskine notebooks, and the fact that I am a sucker, I bought one. It has been so totally disappointing I now call it my Damned Moleskine.

But I did some more of those drawings in it. The second is spread across two pages which happen to be one piece of paper bound through the middle, as all Moleskine pages are, but these are at the middle of the signature so you can actually draw across both. The third is a work in progress; I'll be filling the page eventually. And the fourth is getting, to my mind, far too close to Steve LaRose for me.



It was suggested that I should try drawing, say, fifty of the abstract little crowquill doodles I posted previously. I didn't think I'd manage five, but amazingly enough, when I sat down for a spare moment, I cranked out fourteen. Here they are, for no particular reason. (Click on the image or the arrows to run through them.)


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This page is an archive of entries from December 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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