For our prompt of “Message” today, my mind leapt back in time to the past, when writing letters was the primary way to communicate. As a kid, I always wanted an antique desk with all of the little wooden drawers and could imagine myself sitting there writing stories amongst all of my hidden treasures. I’ve always had a thing for furniture that has little drawers all over it. Though it was fun to imagine, my handwriting was not attractive like the old letters I’d seen in books. My own writing was, and still is, an impatient scrawl that’s legible enough to read, but not something particularly beautiful. I immediately took to using a typewriter for everything when I was young and could always type much faster than I could write, so my handwriting never really got the practice it needed. But, I was fine with that as learning to write as fast as I can now type at this point would take me years of practice. But, I still want that desk someday, even if there’s just lovely art supplies and a laptop sitting there.
As much as I’ve turned to machines for writing from the very beginning, I’ve not ended up making art the old-fashioned way. Philippe just got a new iPad and was drawing pictures on it today. The program even tried to make sounds that mimicked the scratching one might hear from a fountain pen or pencil. The effect was intriguing, but didn’t give me the same visceral reaction that I get when I hear my own real fountain pen scratching on actual paper. I gave it a try and it was fun, but didn’t have an emotional appeal. As I was sketching, I could see a tiny dot of red paint on my hand. Something that wouldn’t exist if my art were to go completely digital. And, it lacked the spontaneity of my current approach as well. Though I hadn’t realized it, I guess I kind of like that sense of danger and adventure that comes from not being able to truly fix something during the process. The many little “mistakes” that always show up in my art were just a click away from disappearing.
I’m not sure why I managed to love imperfections in my art, but didn’t like to see so many in my handwriting. I think it was because as a child, I thought I would grow up to be a writer as a profession. I wanted to focus on writing better and trying to improve my handwriting when there was a perfectly good typewriter sitting there seemed like a waste of time. As it turns out, my profession and my final degree were both art related and words took a back seat. My focus was graphic design and all of it was on computer. I rarely sketched anything and it was only to quickly communicate an idea to my team. So, when I picked up a fountain pen and started coloring with watercolor a little over five years ago, I felt like I’d found something truly unique and special. Something far removed from my job that could become a lovely hobby. Then the most amazing thing happened. I started writing these posts and sent them out into the world and found myself writing again as well. And though my stories are not on a piece of parchment with a feather quill pen, it’s nice that life has come full circle and I’ve ended up spending each day writing letters.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!