Week 3 (!) of the 30-Day Drawing Habit
You're doing it! You're really doing it!! And this week we do something TOTALLY different. ✂️✏️
Want to join The Grown-Ups Table but short on resources? An anonymous donor just launched The Suso Fund, which offers GUT scholarships to folks experiencing financial hardship. I have two scholarships to give away this week. The first two people to Tag me in a note on Substack will receive them. Want to help more folks have access to the GUT? Kick into The Suso Fund here:
Helloooo Grown-Ups Table, AKA GUT peeps, AKA awesome creative crew of quality humans. So happy you’re here.
Big news: YOU HAVE DRAWN EVERY DAY FOR 14 DAYS! And might I say it shows. You are simply glowing. You are half way through the 30-Day GUT Drawing Habit Experiment/Challenge. Or, if you started later maybe it’s day 9 or 3 or 1. No matter. Wherever you are on this road, we’re on it together.
Remind me what this 30-Day GUT Drawing Habit is?
I started this experiment because I’ve been going through a pretty tough time, and, not coincidentally, I haven’t been drawing. I wanted to get back into a drawing habit, and I had a hunch I wasn’t alone. So together we - Grown-Ups Table community - are drawing every day for 30 days, 10 minutes a day (using a timer.)
We just finished Week 2 of 4. Jazz Hands.
Here’s how it works: every Sunday I send out a new assignment. Then we all draw for 10 minutes a day and share our drawings every day in the GUT chat where we also discuss the process and cheer each other on. Besides using a timer and drawing every day, there’s only one rule: NO RULES. In other words, feel free to ignore my assignments. Go rogue. Draw whatever you want. You do you. As long as you’re drawing 10 minutes a day. And if you want community, accountability and a little help accessing your elusive creativity, I got you.
What did we learn in Week 2?
Last week assignment was daily Blind Contour Self-Portraits and OMG, I am IN LOVE with everyone’s experimentation and bravery pushing through expectations. They are truly phenomenal drawings!! So many of you went from “ARGH, I want mine to look right!” to “Every portrait becomes my new favorite!” When you stop expecting with your brain and start seeing with you pen, the shift is pretty magical.
Check out the chat to see thousands of GUT member’s drawings and comments, or the hashtag #DrawTogetherGUT on Instagram. Looking for the chat? Leave questions in the comments. I or a wonderful GUT community member will help you.
Last week you learned to draw with your eyes and hands instead of your brain. You built your eye/hand coordination, and your “let it go, let it flow” muscles. You focused on observational drawing (drawing from life/what you see) and then introduced a little bit of your own creative decision making later in the week. An just like the meditative doodles we did in week 1, consider blind contour drawings another tool in your drawing toolkit.
And just when you think you were getting that hang of it….
Week 3. Collage Drawings
That’s right friends. I thought it would be fun to do some drawing that pushes into other mediums and even into a little storytelling...
This week we are working with source material to create collage drawings.
This is going to push us in a whole new, creative, fun direction. Especially me, friends. This is waaaay outside my wheelhouse. One of the reasons I want to do this is because it is so different from last week. Last week was about looking and being present. This is about playing, creative decision making, and serendipity. Plus, we have a visiting artist who is giving us our assignment.
Okay, let’s get into it.
First, what is this “Source Material” you speak of?
I’m so glad you asked. News flash: artists do not come up with ideas or artwork out of the blue. Nobody does. Whether consciously or not, artists are always building on something (and someone) else. In Week One of our 30-day Drawing Habit, our source material was Hiroyoki Doi’s circles and Agnes Martin’s grids. In Week Two, our source material was our own gorgeous faces! Think about it: there is not a single work of art that doesn’t rely on source material. Whew. That takes the pressure off.
If you’re staring at the often intimidating blank page and have no idea where to begin, you can always put on our art eyes, find some source material, and use that as a starting point. You’re already on your way.
For our collage drawings we are going to use source material we have on hand: old magazines, newspapers, catalogs or junk mail you have lying around.
What is Collage?
“The term collage derives from the French term papiers collés (or découpage), used to describe techniques of pasting paper cut-outs onto various surfaces.” 1
Yup, it’s what we made in 2nd grade when we weren’t eating the paste. And it’s super fun. And as grown-ups, we can be a little more free with the materials we use. (But pls don’t eat more paste.) Collage artists often use photographs or previously made artwork to create their works. Or maybe they combine collage with drawing and painting. The result I can be abstract, representational, or narrative (meaning the collage tells a visual story.)
Many artists, regardless of their primary medium, seem to have dabbled in collage at some point. In a way, collage is a great example of the basis of creativity (or what my friend Maria coined, “Combinatorial Creativity”) - when we put two or more unexpected things together a new, unexpected thing happens. 1 + 1 = 3.
“Creativity is just connecting things.” - Steve Jobs
What is “Collage Drawing”?
Well, honestly, I think I just made that term up. But a lot of artists make them. I’m proclaiming a “collage drawing” to be a drawing that uses elements of collage - or a collage that uses drawing. When we combine some source material with drawing elements - or painting, I’m stickler - that’s a Collage Drawing.
Awesome, inspiring examples.
Okay, I’m going to introduce you to work by a few of my favorite collage artists including our GUT Visiting Artist this week, Ariel Aberg-Riger.
Let’s look at some awesome Collage art.
Last but furthest from least: our GUT Visiting Artist Ariel Aberg-Riger
Ariel Aberg-Riger is an artist and designer who uses archival photos, drawings and text to create visual stories. Her visual storytelling work takes the form of collage.
You might have heard me talk recently about Ariel’s new book America Redux, an unprecedented book of visual storytelling that examines America’s often questionable historical narratives. There aren’t many people who use collage to tell stories the way she does. (Like, nearly none.)
Here are a couple pages:
So simple, but so effective, right? Construction paper + Source Material (old image of an apartment building) = a totally interesting unexpected and powerful image. Add her handwritten text and that image tells a specific story.
Ariel will be back later this week to do a Q&A about her work, collage, what inspires her, and coming to art-making relatively later in life. But before that, she is starting us off with our assignment this week.
Our next assignment is below, as are my first attempts at collage since I was in my 20’s!! 😳😬🤓🤗 (This is the story arch of my insides as I tried something totally new. Let me know in the comments how it is for you!)
And without further ado…