As we were perched in a bird blind on the island of Tiengemeten drawing the surrounding landscape, I overheard the resident biologist ask our instructor “What are they doing?”
I remember when I was in Vietnam last summer, it seemed every time I paused to sketch something, people would stop and watch over my shoulder. Here, people don’t seem to notice. Or at least they don’t seem to care. I can stand still in a sea of people and sketch or scribble furiously looking out of train windows or paint with watercolor sitting at a cafe and no one even gives me a second glance. I am really enjoying developing my skills. I’m learning to draw much more quickly these days– adapting to accidental lines and being more selective in my vision. One thing I’m picking up on: Learning to draw is learning what not to draw. Photography can capture an entire scene in 1000th of a second. Using a pen and paper to record my surroundings is forcing me to actually see what is around me, to measure it, to understand it. Photographs stack up in folders in the abyss of my hard drive. Somehow, these sketches become a part of me.