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ICAD Week 7

Amy Ballpoint | Featured | ICAD ,
 ICAD Week 7
Above: my daily/nightly drawings for Index-Card-a-Day (ICAD). These drawings are all based on photos at Sktchy and drawn in ballpoint on mixed paper and index card.

Week 7 of Index-Card-a-Day 2017

Yesterday was the final day of Week 7. This week has felt different than other weeks. There is one serious misstep with color (my opinion, although others see that card differently), but overall, the week holds together. It stands out as “different” than the previous weeks. These cards are all different in some way, with the exception of maybe one. Some are different in how far in or out I’ve zoomed, or how deep the color is, or how much space there is. Overall, it’s a set that I am comfortable with and feel good about. I am learning something with every single card, every single ballpoint drawing.

Late yesterday afternoon, after a long workday, I was decompressing from in-person meetings (which are not my norm), and I sat and watched a few videos and followed a few links to ballpoint pen artists’ sites. I was looking (in truth) for the video I talked about in Episode 247–the video that sent me trying to change the way I hold my pen. I located the 90-hour Bic video, but I didn’t figure out what I had been watching that made me look at the hand. (Maybe it was the Bic video. I think I need to go check again.) In searching, I found one amazing (mindblowing) artist. She’s young, and her “subject” matter is very urban and very gritty. Her ballpoint work is in-your-face even as it is beautiful. It’s all in ballpoint, and she has a few videos posted noting the hundreds of hours involved in each piece. They are big. Really big. And they are full-color ballpoint. They are intense. They are bold. They are smooth. They are technically gorgeous. I saw someone ask how she is using yellow, and she noted that there is a kid’s Bic pack that has a banana-scented yellow one. Wow! I haven’t even been able to find a yellow-barreled classic fine blue Bic yet, much less a clear Cristal Bic blue original. I really want to try both, and I’ve had zero luck. Seeing the range of color she is using was amazing.

My attempts with the colored Bic pens this summer… have been disappointing. They glob badly, both the bold and the fine/precise. Compared to the blue, the colors I’ve tried just don’t seem to grab me in terms of how they layer. I need to keep trying them… once ICAD is over, I hope to experiment more. At that point, the “product” each day won’t be quite the same “goal” as it is now. I am hoping I can find it in me to work on multi-day pieces and post #WIP images to keep my accountability in place. (This will be a mental shift, for sure.)  But I keep looking at other artists and other samples… and I am in awe. 

But every time I watch a video or find a new ballpoint artist to look at, I end up in the land of doubt. By the end of last night, I needed a major mental pep talk about what I am doing with these cards and drawings and whether it matters. I am certainly not “good” in the way the art that I see and love is good. I’m nowhere close. This kind of self-doubt can be debilitating. It can derail even the most dedicated series or challenge.

I probably should just detach, pull the plug, and really stop looking around for a while. It can be counterproductive. But… I keep looking because I feel like there is “something” I am not doing which will change the process for me and give me this different kind of effect. So far, I can’t get it with any of the pens I’ve tried. With the Bic medium that I’ve used most, I have gotten much more comfortable with my version of layering and hatching, and I know others layer this way. But some of the ballpoint art I most admire has a different kind of smoothness, and I haven’t even gotten close.

Week 8 starts today, and I think I am going with a theme for this week. In my head, Week 8 was the last week, so I’ve held this small theme in the distance as I’ve been working on cards. As I mentioned in Episode 246, I have several “weeks” of portrait drawings I think I will do once ICAD is over. But Week 8 may be themed. We’ll see!

Catch up with Week 6, Week 5, Week 4, Week 3, Week 2, and Week 1.


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