I've found myself, in recent times, drawing for a living. Not good drawing really but now that I'm an interpretive designer and what I design has changed, the need to capture ideas quickly has become more pertinent. At first, I was a little reluctant; nervous at my ability; rusty. But needs must and two things surprised me: the first was that I wasn't awful and the second thing was that I enjoyed it.
Over the last eighteen months I've used a pencil to design sculptural lectern panels for an ancient fort, I've scoped out interior spaces for a derelict textiles mill and I've conceived physical interactive installations. With a pencil.
Back in the day, when I worked in England, I art directed an old-school marker visualiser to do this kind of thing. Boy could Jeremy draw. I'd poorly scribble an idea in front of him and he'd go away and perform magic with his markers. It was by far the best way to capture an idea – unhindered by the toil and tyranny of so called 'Mac visuals'.
I don't know how much value is given to the ability to draw these days in the world of graphic design. That's not a rhetorical statement, for all I know it's still prized like it used to be. My view of the world is distorted, what with my field of endeavour, being a bit out of touch and being blessed by working with a number of illustrators that can draw the crap out of me. And then there's the tech. Ever new ways to manipulate and originate an image – all those apps!
This all sprang to mind as I pondered why I'm obsessed with making these images on my phone. They couldn't be easier but I'm often surprised by the results. Mere mirrored images take on forms I was not expecting and with hardly a thought – serendipitous dark bits become alien eyes. Sticky out bits become limbs.
I use Diptic and make them quickly in batches once I stumble across source material. These are made from the annual debris found in our greenhouse. The realism of the original stuff, even after it's been abstracted, retains a foot in the real world and adds to the strangeness.
What's this got to do with drawing? Maybe not much but maybe a bit. Perhaps in the future we'll hark back to these days and lament the demise of Diptic or Brushes or, dare I suggest, Photoshop – because we'll be originating and manipulating images in all sorts of new ways. And it occurred to me that we're just using a tool to make an image. You might choose a pencil, you might choose a stylus. Messing about with a photo and Diptic is a bit like doodling with a pencil. It's fun, uses little brain power and can reap surprising results. It's not unlike what Alan Fletcher used to do, only he used scraps of print.