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Changing Spaces and Paces

October 14, 2008

I’m a creature of habit. I spend a great deal of time in my desk chair, staring at a computer monitor and multi-tasking between several different projects and an ongoing addiction to pressing the “refresh” button on more than two dozen permanently tabbed websites in Firefox.

And it takes its toll, let me tell you. You get cranky about it after awhile, and your work begins to feel flat, listless, and uninspiring. Even when you have THREE potentially very inspiring projects in your to-do-list.

So what do you do?

Yesterday I decided what I really needed was a change of scenery, and a change of pace. Since I didn’t have a car at hand I picked up my mostly empty and neglected sketchbook and moved to the kitchen table, where I could focus more on drawing than on that mocking refresh button. There was some lovely light coming in through the big kitchen windows, and a cool breeze that smelled like fall, and three enthusiastically foraging squirrels bickering over who got to sit in the squirrel feeder outside.

And it worked. I churned out a better drawing for the first project than I’d managed in three days staring at the Cintiq.

Today I went a step further. I grabbed my moleskein sketchbook (perfectly sized to fit in my purse), my sketching pencils and an eraser on my way out the door. After running a few errands I treated myself to a couple of new books at my local Borders, and then a cafe mocha. Sitting at a window table in the bookstore I managed to churn out enough thumbnails and a preliminary sketch to get started on my other two big projects.

Which I’m now much more enthusiastic about tackling.

When you feel like you’re in a rut, and the creative juices aren’t flowing, sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to start things stirring again.

On a side note: I read Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” today. Mucho kudos to the poor Borders employee who had to hunt high and low to locate a copy of it. Neil Gaiman is, I think, one of the master Storytellers of our time. Storytellers being altogether different from Authors. Storytellers make you forget you’re reading a book. You can almost hear them, sitting comfortably ensconced across the room in a chair, telling the tale out loud. Reading a book written by a master Storyteller is a wonderful experience. For an artist it lets you visualize the story in your head very clearly, and I always feel like drawing after I’ve finished the last page.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2008 12:20 am

    That’s something I need to do pretty badly!

  2. October 15, 2008 7:38 am

    That sounds like something I should do. I haven’t painted for several months, as I have been bussy and stressed and tired. Maybe I need a change of scenery. I think nature gives me inspiration, and as I am now a city living person this is not the best…

  3. October 15, 2008 1:43 pm

    A little change always does me a little good. Even if it is such a small thing as changing the music I draw with, the chair, the room, or just leave entirely.

    I hope they put in a nice cafe near us, so I can get settle down with my own coffee and pencils soon without asking my husband to take me xD

  4. October 15, 2008 5:22 pm

    Unfortunately I just realized I can’t start going to the cartoonist meeting again this week because mom will be here ūüė¶

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