Thought management for artists

pencil drawing after Bonnard


You have to find out what works for you — sometimes down to the very fine detail.  Should you stay up at night and draw into the late hours?  Should you get to bed early and rise with the dawn?  Do you need coffee to get started or a very cold bottle of water?  What kinds of notebooks are appealing?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a day going round with a small notebook drawing random sights?

Or perhaps you do that all the time, and what you need is to choose some very complex image and work at it relentlessly.  Do you work from life?  Make drawings from memory?  Have you investigated things that artists did in history and apply them to contemporary motifs?  Do plans and schedules keep you on track?  Or are you the sort of person who needs to feel spontaneous?

Whenever something isn’t working for me, I try something else.  Sometimes I just start drawing in medias res because I’ve lost the thread of my ideas.  Then I find that just moving my hands jump starts some thought process, like a dream remembered, and I rediscover the thing hidden in my mind.

Your own personal Rorschach test

If you want to know the inner contents of your mind, rather than looking at somebody else’s butterfly ink-stain pictures, make some of your own — then look into the in-between details.  There in the indefinable whatever of your heedless marks — those that you made while your mind was all fixed upon some idea — those that look so crisp and abstract when removed from their context — that’s where you look.

And if you want to peer even deeper, stack a bunch of those randomized details one on top of the other, as I’m doing here.  You can find the inner corridors of your brain and you can take a little walk around in there.

Wow, it’s dark in here.  Anybody got a flashlight?

What you’re supposed to do with this deep psychological information is anybody’s guess.  But I know where you can look to find it.  It’s there in the hidden whatcha-ma-call-it moments of the picture.  Your own Rorschach upon which you can endlessly Dr Freud-analyze yourself!

And it’s so deep.