Years ago, I started a series called Organic Form Drawings. They’re tiny, intricate pencil drawings made with biology-inspired shapes and motifs, using a technique called automatism. Usually the drawings are made with a single colored pencil on 3″ x 5″ paper.
I’ve been growing this series slowly (organically?) over time, and decided to try an experimental approach with a tangential drawing. Related to the series, but not necessarily part of it.
Years ago my dad gave me some vintage marbled paper. I think it was made by his grandfather, or at least by someone in my family tree that died before I was born.
I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I did have the idea to cut off the frayed and torn edges and reinterpret the shapes, coaxing more exaggerated formations out of them.
I took the sheets of paper and carefully cut down the edges and made myself a uniformly-sized stack of about 10 4″x 6″ pieces.
I’d had the idea to apply some of the thinking in Organic Form Drawings to this paper for years, and I finally made the effort to try it out.
At first, I let the shapes guide me. The question I was answering with the lines and shadows I drew was, “what are these patterns doing?”
As I gained context, I started coaxing shapes out of the more ambiguous and blank spaces on the marbled paper. My question changed to “what would these patterns do?”
By the time I was nearly done with the drawing I had such a level of familiarity with the flowing patterns of ink across the paper, that my question got a little more cheeky. “What could the patterns do?”
This drawing took far longer to create than I expected with the level of detail required to get the effect I was going for. It was a worthwhile experiment, and I think an interesting final result.
But I’m probably not going to make a series of pieces like this one.
Dimensions: 4″ x 6″—see below for scale
Materials: Vintage marbled paper, colored pencils
Series: Peripherally related to the Organic Form Drawings
To give you an idea of the level of sharpness I needed for the pencils to get the detail you see above, here’s a picture of me holding it for scale.
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