My little sketchbook, ‘The Joy Diary’, is complete. Tomorrow I mail it back to the Brooklyn Art Library, where it will become a permanent part of The Sketchbook Project collection for 2018.
As an unexpected result of doing this project, I learned something new about my creative identity.
When I started the sketchbook, I thought of it the way I think of a body of work for an art show. In an art show, I choose a theme that becomes a starting point, and each drawing becomes a singular point of view related to that theme.
As I worked on the third drawing in the sketchbook, I realized my concept and understanding was shifting. This was not an art show with 21 themed-but-separate drawings. Instead, this was one long drawing that moved from page to page. I was seeing the drawings as sequential, telling a story.
I was seeing my sketchbook as a book.
In a single realization, I shifted from an artist using words in her drawings, to a writer using images and words on an equal footing. I shifted myself and my creative process from ‘either/or’ to ‘and/also’.
For years I said I was both artist and writer, but I saw these identities as separate and distinct, two hats that I exchanged and wore one at a time. In the process of creating this sketchbook, artist and writer merged. I shifted into one identity wearing one hat.
I have been heading this direction for most of my art career. There are words on my drawings as far back as 2003. Funny how I did not consciously see this coming, yet when I look back, the progression is obvious.
So what am I now? How do I call myself both artist and writer, giving my images and words equal footing, without having to use a phrase four words long?
I’m not a graphic novelist, although I can see this one coming next, in the way the third draft of my book is currently forming itself. This next shift will not be a surprise.
For now I continue to call myself both artist and writer. The word ‘both’ is important, making image and word an equal part of who I am and what I create. I am okay with that. More than okay. This shift in seeing myself and my work gives me both clarity and joy.
In this post:
The Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn Art Library, https://www.sketchbookproject.com/
See my entire sketchbook in page order on my art site at https://walkingowlstudio.ca/ Click on ‘Gallery’, and then click on ‘The Sketchbook Project – The Joy Diary’.