Drawing(The drawings in this page were made between September 2021 and February 2022)
I've been drawing since I was a kid, but was never very talented at it. My parents explained that, when I was very young, my perfectionist nature would make me trash almost all drawings I was making due to frustration. Perhaps for this reason I stopped and only started drawing again in high school to pass time in lessons I was not interested in.
To me, drawing was, more than anything else, the thing you do to create comics. I've grown up reading a ton of French, Belgian and Japanese comics, but not so much fine art outside of a art history school lessons. Comics are what built my visual culture growing up. I think my first important visual shock was the discovery of BLAME! by Tsutomu Nihei. Even today there's nothing that looks like it.
I went to art school during the mid-2000. At this period, art teachers hated that students were either inspired by Tim Burton aesthetics or manga aesthetics. I mostly draw there, and I already had trouble with shadows and shades. But according to my teachers, I had a good sense for lines and volumes. I was (and am still) terrible with colors. I don't know how they work. I don't know how to mix paint, color pens. I was an absolute disaster during the very short color lesson I had.
So I just kept drawing in black and white, because that's what my aesthetics are. I discovered a lot of artists that I adore. Unsurprisingly, my favorite painter is Pierre Soulages. I had several difficult art crisis and blocks in art school, trying to find my voice and my process. When I graduated in 2009, this research wasn't finished or had enough roots to continue to grow. Also, I was so frustrated with art that I entirely stopped doing any.
The pause turned into a 13 years struggle. I would start drawing again, be unsatisfied, not able to find my roots, that were dried at this point, and give up. Also I had no idea what to draw, or in which conditions. The only thing that made me draw in art school was writing stories and depicting them. Comics basically wired my brain in this strange way. I require context to find a subject and get the desire to draw.
Not so surprisingly, the trigger came again from comics. In 2021 I started watching Manben, a series by manga artist Naoki Urasawa, that documents how manga artists work by filming them for days. This series is probably the biggest art un-blocker you can find. Some of those artists strive for the perfect line. Others will redo drawings ten times, making a crust of white eraser on their paper. Others use photos, scanners, lousy brush strokes, or even photoshop version 4.0 and can't draw a line correctly 9 times out of 10 after 30 years of career.
This was a trigger for me to understand that drawing, like most craftsmanship, is about figuring out a process you find interesting and feel like doing thousands of times without getting bored. The result may not look like what you strive for or the artists your admire, but will be the pure, unfiltered result of who you are.
So, I've started drawing again in 2021. I go to live model drawing lessons, again in an art school. It's a ton of fun, probably because I'm now in a situation where I can do whatever I want and answer to nobody but myself. Drawing isn't linked to grades, or a future career. It's all about finding what I enjoy doing while doing it, and seeing an often unexpected result at the end. It never ceases to surprise me.
My favorite tools are gray pens, markers and black ink with brushes. I draw on large paper, most of the time on 50 by 60 centimeters sheets. I feel constrained by small paper sizes, as I can't draw with my arm and need to use only my wrist, which tends to frustrate me. I also have hard time drawing with models far from me, or for long sessions. It's actually super hard for me to last more than 20 minutes on a drawing.
Today my favorite drawers are probably Hiroaki Samura, Takehiko Inoue, Katsuya Terada and Shin'ichi Sakamoto. Unsurprisingly, all of them are or were manga artists, all of them depict humans, animals and surroundings in expressive strokes and expressions.
I like drawing people, and the expression that shows through their bodies and faces.