I’ve mentioned my creative experiments using old business cards in previous posts, so I thought I’d write a bit more about what I’m doing today. I got the idea from Shaun McNiff’s book Trust the Process and as my energy is very limited I was interested in experimenting with being creative on a very small scale as well as within short time-frames.
I also wanted to free myself from the terror of the pristine sketchbook page by using “waste” paper to make the process of “being creative” easy, relaxed and casual. I’ve got little stashes of cards, pens and pencils around the house and in my handbag so it’s never difficult to make a drawing – no excuses, no need to be perfect. Drawings are usually done quite quickly in one sitting (or standing, in the case of the one I attempted to make of my trolley contents whilst queuing in the supermarket).
Collages are a bit different – they take several sessions of snipping, shuffling and eventually sticking. I do them at the kitchen table, which sometimes remains littered for several days while I complete something. I also have a big box for storing materials and a shallow box where I can pack away work in progress if I need the table for something else. Collages are made from old magazines, newspapers and mail-order catalogues – again making use of waste paper.
The cards I’m using at the moment have a very smooth surface which means that pencil won’t rub out and pen nibs sometimes slip which adds to the challenge. It’s interesting seeing (and feeling) how different pens and pencils mark the page. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different kinds of card stock and paper.
The picture at the top shows most of the cards I’ve completed so far – I sent some others to Alison, a few have gone in the bin (though I’m trying not to judge what I’ve done) and local friend who is one of my creative mentors asked for a couple. Using two different fountain pens to draw a crow I was intrigued to find that bottled black Quink quite a different color to black Quink from a cartridge. That discovery led me to make the solid blocks of ink as a comparison. If you look closely the shading and scratch marks are visible creating a sort of abstract painting.
It’s an experiment that I feel has been very successful for me. By making it very easy, casual and SMALL I’ve done more drawing and collage already this year than I did in the previous three. And small step by small step I’m building up a body of work (my Tiny Portfolio). I may never have the time to develop into a really skilled artist, but I’m doing something.