In my last few weeks at my last job, I started tucking my phone away and doodling while kids entertained themselves. It’s interesting that I waited that long to allow myself to doodle at work. My preschoolers would super bashfully inch up to my paper and just stare at whatever nonsense I was drawing and smile. I’d feel more satisfied with my day when I could leave work toting a few scraps of paper to leave in my backseat till I was actually going home where I could safely store them (and, as it turns out, forget I’d stored them and think I’d left them somewhere.) I guess since I was actually working I was monitoring my working and my artwork got to kind of do whatever it wanted, which is kind of a rare scenario.
I felt like this one needed some color because I never really got to flesh out the lines at work like the other ones. These lyrics are from Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness” and any time now that I read that sentence, the song starts playing in my head. I don’t like her hair but I do like how her upper body is positioned.
These lyrics are from A Day to Remember’s “Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail.” The first time I heard it was on my drive home from my last job, which often left me feeling stepped on and smothered. Understandably, when this segment of the song started playing I turned my volume up as loud as it could go and felt like bursting with its relevance to my life. Naturally, I turned it into a drawing. I didn’t start off making her “me” but when I gave her the hair I wanted, and it was my hair, I straight up gave up that resistance and I made it me.
Aside from the song lyric pictures, I had another category of work doodles which was “Dealing with shit.” It’s been a weird transition between jobs, signing a lease for my first wonderfully hipster downtown studio apartment, and some changes with me and my boyfriend.
Not gonna lie internet, there are some things that made me into a monster over the summer and I was really proud to move into a time in my life in the last few weeks when even bigger things have happened and I have been *me* – even-keeled (about most things), hopeful, and quite sure of myself. Weird shit set itself up and ended up actually feeling interesting rather than apocalyptic. Interesting! Who knew I could find things like this interesting and not terrible. I stopped playing mind games with myself. I took things at face value (learned that one from my boyfriend…it’s weird when shit is actually as straightforward as it sounds). I followed the hyperbolic sequence of events to its end and said “Well, that would happen, and that would be it” and when I acknowledged that everything stopped being scary. I wanted it to be good, and it has been.
I think I did this one the next day. It happened to also be about being at work. I was alone the day after Thanksgiving with any preschooler that showed up at the center. I thought it would be stressful or at least wildly boring and last for 11 horrible hours. But I relaxed and then my kids relaxed and I sat on the floor and doodled. One of my favorite little girls scooted up to me and I said “Who’s that?” and she beamed and whispered “you.” So that’s when you know, friends, that you’ve actually done yourself a likeness. I was wearing pants like these that day and they kind of spearheaded my focus on ALL the flowery swirls in the background. I don’t know the last time I’ve been that dedicated to filling up space with designs.
The problem, friends, with feeling like you’ve beaten your monster is when it dares to come back. Maybe not for as long, and maybe it’s not as crippling, but it does come back and then you feel like you’ve failed yourself. There’s nothing really to do anymore but push through it, keeping the whining and the self-loathing to a minimum (when possible.) I do like her thought bubble crown.
I pulled out some pastels one of my first evenings just “home” and after screwing up some drawings I did unfortunately discover that blending colors is for some reason a lot easier on canvas than just paper like this. This was kind of not controlled relative to the kind of drawing that I was doing, but I guess I still like it for its sass.
AND THEN! The first real watercolor painting I’d done in a while (ever?) It totally turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. It’s deep and rich and textured and holy shit I actually successfully painted a watercolor face! I like the accidental texture of the shirt acquired by a paper towel, and I like that the owl turned out just right and that his wings look BADASS. I like that her hands are long and spidery and how perfectly circular her little spectacles are. HOORAY! I just wish I could do something cool with this after the fact.