Saturday, December 05, 2009

Pen Drawings from Old Journals

Some random pen drawings, from my old journals. These drawings are basically just doodles, but still fun to look at. I don't consider them finished Art.

I used to do detailed line-drawings using Rapidograph technical pens. Pens that I first learned to use as a freshman student in geology, where we were expected to draw up our projects with precise, technical, draftsman-level skill; I spent hours on my project drawings, and I was the only student in the class who got a 100 percent grade for my project drawings. I used to make these kinds of drawings mostly on bristol board, which was firm enough and smooth enough to take the ink well without running, or watercolor board, for the same reasons. This ghostlike figure is the title page of one of those old spiral notebooks, a decoration for an English class notebook on creative writing.

This technical-pen style grew out of being able to draw extremely fine lines with the pen, combined with an interest in a pencil-and-paper math game called Sprouts, invented by one of those mid-century math-game geniuses I admired at that time, John H. Conway, who also invented the cellular-automata game Life. Believe it or not, I discovered Conway's games through reading science fiction novels such as Piers Anthony's Macroscope, then again in Martin Gardner's monthly columns in Scientific American. I liked the idea of using the Sprouts connectivity rules to control drawing style, and using the technical pens led my to explore this style throughout my college years.

The other drawing as done in my regular journal, half a page, using the Shaeffer fine-nib calligraphy cartridge pens I favored for many years, and still do. I have a backstock of pens and ink cartridges in my art-supplies chest of drawers next to the art desk.

This is just a moody journal drawing of the full moon and a planet close by in the night sky, done entirely in cross-hatch style. I was influenced to work with cross-hatching style by the great SF magazine illustrator Jack Gaughan, who was one of my favorite artists for several years at that time in my life. Looking up at the technical pen drawing, I can see some Gaughan influence in that, as well. It reminds me of one of his more abstract covers for Ace Books.

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