Why I draw with brush and ink

I normally do a few warm up exercises before I get started on the proper work.

I draw with brush and ink; real brushes with real bristles and a pot of no-nonsense, black ink - spill this and you’ll know about it (I once tipped over a whole pot onto my desk, chair, floor and me - my striped top has never looked the same again.) The reason I wanted to share this with you, is because lately a few people have mistakenly assumed that my work is created on a computer and I thought I’d put them straight. This also made me question why, in this day and age, I still draw the way I do when there are programs, tablets and touch screens to use that would mean I’d never have to have inky fingers ever again. Surely it’d be so much easier if I just embraced technology and started drawing on the computer instead? But while there’s no shame in doing that, I personally have chosen not to. Let me tell you why and hopefully you’ll come away with a bit more of an understand of my creative process.

Nowadays, it’s never been easier to live a life online, but with so many new ways to stay connected, spending too much time in front of a screen is often the surest way to end up feeling disconnected with the real world. You might think that drawing with brushes and ink seems a trifle old fashioned, but doing so takes me away from the digital world for a moment and brings me back to the physical realm - the one where I occasionally spill ink all over myself. The odd mishap aside, the feel of real paper beneath my wrist as I make the first mark in unforgiving, take-no-prisoners, black ink still wins every time. Whenever I’ve been spending too much time with my computer catching up on the business side of things, I find myself sneaking side-long glances at my pot of brushes, itching to get back to them.

In a similar vein to this, I’ve chosen to start up a business selling greetings cards, when we all know it’s a lot quicker to just send someone a text than to write them a card. But I believe we still have a need to feel physically, tangibly connected to things - whether that’s through the act of writing a card or drawing with a brush - and to see signs of a human touch.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not some technophobe advocating clinging to traditions for tradition’s sake. My computer is an indispensable part of my toolkit and without it I wouldn’t be able to run my website, update this blog or fulfill customer’s orders. I’m also not ashamed to admit that it plays an integral part in my creative process further down the line, when I use it to colour my artwork and prepare everything to be sent off to the printers. It’s simply that if I drew on a computer I wouldn’t feel the same sense of joy that I get from picking up a paintbrush and I’d be spending even more time in front of a screen.

So for now, I’ll carry on mixing the best bits of old and new technology until somebody has a better idea. Next week, I’ll be getting back to those longed-for paintbrushes of mine but before then, I hope you all manage to get out in the real world this weekend and enjoy what looks set to be the best of the British Spring weather!

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