To Draw or not to Draw, zat is ze qvestion.

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Jonathan Wright Illustrator
Jonathan Wright Illustrator


The more I use Photoshop, the more I end up drawing and painting for some reason.  I think it’s because you can just play, instead of that paralyzing feeling I get working with traditional media as I try to make a masterpiece and every little mistake stays on the page.  The first couple years after I graduated from Sheridan College, I actually barely drew.  I think that’s because I had a ridiculous mental block that everything coming out of my pen or pencil had to be ground breaking, something the world’s never seen before.  So I just plain stopped drawing and painting, while carpentry became my creative outlet.  I think I’m only realizing now that making things out of wood didn’t have that same endless possibility that drawing did, and so I felt more comfortable making a table for instance.  Four legs: check.  A top: yep.  And that’s pretty much all it took for success, those few requirements, while everything else on top was just gravy.

But then I realized that really it all comes down to playing with whatever you do and enjoying the process.  So I tried to take myself less seriously, and finally allowed myself to just have fun creating.  That meant that drawing became less of a pressure and things just started flowing.  Are the things I’m creating materpieces?  Nope, and I’m fine with that.  I’ve even picked up a sketchbook again after more than 10 years of not having one.  All those years ago, I thought that the pages in my sketchbook had to be on par with DaVinci’s stuff, and so you can guess that that’s why I never used one.  Now a sketchbook is just that to me: a place to jot down ideas and play in the paper sandbox.  The whole idea of a finished piece is slowly dissolving too.  I’m trying to force myself to see each piece as a stepping stone to my artistic Nirvana, so that when I’m old I can look back and see my whole career as a final piece I can be proud of.  This realization came to me through woodworking actually as I learned how to sharpen chisels and hand planes to shaving sharp.  That one skill (which I learned from the master Paul Sellers by the way, after several tortuous years trying to figure things out on my own) made me see that woodworking is just a library of knowledge, and that every piece of furniture hones the skills you’ve acquired and opens your eyes to new ones.  It’s a process just like drawing, and I’m always mystified when people don’t see the correlation between woodworking and art.  In my mind they’re so similar I sometimes have difficulty understanding why sometimes carpenters poo-poo artists and vice verca.  Both are just a collection of skills, plain and simple.

Anyway, enough ranting, so I’ll get on with what I did this morning, which was trying to incorporate textures and designs into a painting.  For years I eschewed the two thinking my drawing had to stand on its own without the “trickery” of textures and designs, but I think my work is getting stronger since I’m now embracing those elements.  Android Jones is a fantastic artist who really has melded painting and design, so I’m trying to lighten up and do the same.

I did this one in PS5, and I’m really liking the shortcuts for zooming in and out (press and hold the “z” button while you drag your pen left and right, which very sexily doesn’t change the tool you’re using) and the option+control combo for adjusting the size of your brush.   Hope you like it.


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