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Art Students at Work

The latest class was a workshop day - no lectures, demos, guest speakers or in-depth critiques. That leaves less for the teacher to do. Luckily, I had my trusty Pentel Pocket Brush and some marker paper, so was able to sketch some artists at work.

Sure, a good amount of what artists do is drawing, but so much - especially in early stages of the creative process - is the hard brain work of writing and/or planning. Considered and refined are characters, design, composition, layout. Stories are tossed, creative lovelies are snuffed out, the work takes shape as decisions are made, new paths discovered and forged.

Every artist is not only in the process of honing their skills and craft, settling in on their style, but are in the act of creating themselves. Call it exploration, expression, self-actualization. These presentations and personae are experimented with, some discarded for a new look, sometimes they fit like a glove and stick...at least for a time.

Each artist gets comfy with how they like to work: tools, environment, trappings, habits and posture. Most have a tendency to get their noses right down there into the work. I know I do.

Students nowadays come equipped with their own laptop and headphones. They're plugged in to keep inspired and entertained, to research conceptually and visually. Alongside the traditional tools of brush & ink, pencils and a sketchbook is a tangle of cords, and a slick screen.

A relaxed posture can belie a confused creative mind. Those somewhat scruffy-lookin' can have the most ordered thoughts and/or work spaces. Some that appear more together can be most disorganized or work away amidst chaos. I've been all of these and more.

Drawing/writing/creating is part what we see, part what we know. We observe the people and world around us, filter it through our selves, our personality and sensibilities to capture truth, perhaps create new worlds. We explore, test an idea there, make a mark here, feeling things out tentatively, striking out boldly in an effort to convey and connect.

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