An expanse of dazzling white paper lies still. It’s right there in front of you. It’s empty.
But that doesn’t stop it from shouting at you. It’s frightening, like prison must be, but without the freedom or visitors. There’s an evil lurking in its stillness because you know from past history that it’s going to bite your ass.
Making that first mark is like slicing the throat of your first born. A kitten then.
Those visitors that you hope for are ideas. At worst they’re distant relatives with suggestions, possibly a conversation or two that might help an idea take shape – but they don’t appear. Loneliness. Fear.
That first mark on the paper draws blood. Now and then it feels good and you hack another deep gash onto the page. If you’re lucky with more and more strokes it starts to resemble your idea.
The problem most of us have is that we’re not good at trashing lots of paper. Couple that with a complete lack of balls to just make those marks. We are not used to cutting more throats. We did when we were kids. What happened? The whole concept most of us have about sketching is 100% wrong.
We simply don’t get why it’s one of the most valuable things we don’t do.
Sketching with aimless abandon can create the most valuable images and ideas. The energy and creativity we can achieve just by doing it is unbelievable.
And so it is with how we need to think.
Why Think? How Sketching Works
Your mind is a blank, a vacuum of blacks and grey, empty. But that doesn’t stop it shouting at you. It’s frightening, like prison, but without the freedom or visitors. There’s an evil challenge in its vast emptiness because you know from past history that it’s going to be the death of you. Horror. The stench of failure.
Thinking resembles an ache that you can’t touch. No visitors. Some tumbleweed, dead kittens.
Thinking is something that seems hard to think about. The more you grab at an idea the less you know it. An idea can be nothing and as it takes shape even more nothing appears. Black swirls around into more grey. Try thinking about thinking.
Your mind is blank.
That first thought is blood. Maybe sweat. Certainly Fears. The fact that something flows at all feels good – you feel alive so you hack another image into view. If you’re lucky it might even class as an idea. It probably sucks. Nothing swirls around it and then when you least expect it an idea comes.
The problem most of us have is not being prepared to think coupled with a lack of stimulus or consciousness of how to.
The entire concept most of us have around thinking, as with sketching, is 100% bizarre. We simply don’t get why it’s one of the most valuable things we don’t do.
Thinking through sketching is the same thing. Sketch and it forces thinking. Think through sketching and it will clarify what you couldn’t grasp in any other way. They both need each other and the very act promotes a balance of freedom and structure. Armed with this idea and some practice everyone can create valuable ideas.
The energy and creativity we can achieve just by doing it is unbelievable. Let it fly.
And so it is with why we need to sketch.
With massive thanks to Bella and Freddie for the inspiration and their amazing artistry.