Film and photography capture images in frames. The light activity from an instant in time gets preserved in pigment or pixels.
Different photographers focus on different things and take different preferences—there’s a lot of room for the person behind the camera to express opinions and perceptions, despite the somewhat objective process.
Drawing is different. Even more subjectivity is introduced, and time isn’t the factor that it is in film. A sense of what happened before or after the captured instant colors the artist’s memory. Time isn’t a stack of instances. It’s a blur.
The piece of paper imposes a frame, but the frame isn’t the same kind of limitation. Surroundings, like time, are a blur. Sounds and smells translate visually; edges of the field of vision are indistinct.
Months ago I saw a man walking toward me in the rain, rounding a bend in a trail. Drops of water clung to the tips of thousands of pine needles a few feet from my face, and everything converged in a frame I wish I could have captured.
This is a familiar feeling for a person who gets used to carrying a DSLR around. The senses are sharpened for rooting out interesting instances for use or memory. It’s not a distraction, it’s an attuned-ness (I say that to all the people who like to tell me to put my camera down so I can enjoy the moment).
I told myself to remember the frame. The image I never captured with a camera spent a while getting distorted in the back of my mind, and I pulled it back out again with a fineliner pen.
Name: The Man in the Rain
Dimensions: 5″ x 7″—the size of an average greeting card
Materials: Fineliner pen on hand-cut tagboard