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I’m usually a pretty fastidious artist. The reason I don’t do a lot of small illustration jobs is that they’re never really that small – even a simple line drawing of a cat is probably going to take me a couple of hours to really get right.

That’s probably why I haven’t really used chunky art journal I bought a couple of years ago. It appeals to me on some level, but the actual me is much too fussy.


Or at least, that’s the me that I usually am. This morning I was flipping through the few pages I had used and was seized with a surprising urge to get out my markers. That’s a good thing, right? I really had no idea what to draw, though.

I thought about journaling first. I pretty much always want to journal. I could write about how it feels to suddenly want to draw, or how I don’t know where this is going. How it feels to suddenly want to draw, and not know where that’s going. Or, I could shut up and actually do the drawing.

I opened the book and thought about an arch, something bold and architectural. I got out a big black marker. What kind of arch? Does it have a keystone? No, just a heavy block on each side, and a series of curves above that. As soon as I started drawing the curve, I could see that it was a rainbow. The rest of the gate and the wall, and then…well, I guess that was it. Mission accomplished.

Except, suddenly I knew what I wanted to write about it, too. Sometimes it really is that simple.

And this gate? I don’t know. I’m not saying it’s a good drawing, but it’s a drawing. Maybe some day I’ll turn it into a beautiful painting. That’s certainly an interesting idea. In the meantime, I think I recognize this place. It’s the place I always go when there’s something I need to do and I’m not quite sure what’s on the other side.

Today, at least I showed up and tried.


EDIT:  A couple of days after I wrote this, I went back to a place I had recently gone for the first time, and realized that they have a prominently-featured rainbow arch decoration. So…at first I felt a little awkward about this.

It actually does have a keystone, but it also has the blocks on the sides. What’s up with that sneaky coyping, brain? The interesting thing, though, is that I had no conscious memory of this whatsover, and I was still able to access quite a bit of visual detail. The power of images is pretty amazing, and maybe (in this case) even more bizarre than I was thinking.