I’ve posted many times on here about my own drawing practice, so I wanted to share some of Blake’s work with you. We draw in very different ways. I will do a 100 drawings in a hot panic, scribbling out elusive visions and quick marks before I have a chance to second guess myself. Blake also draws most every day, starting with a few gestural lines, but he never gives up on a drawing. He works and works and works the page over in ball point pen lines until he gets the image just-so. The evolution of various stages of the drawing appear like clouds around his figures. Problematic gestures become thick and shiny with the 10,000 lines of many days’ consideration.
While I have blown through a multitude of sketchbooks (anywhere from 2-5 a year,) Blake has held onto this one for years now. In addition to drawing in here, he also works out drawings in 18″ x 24″ sketch pads, and he draws directly onto his wood blocks, reveling in the buildup of searching lines and contours. Just this semester, he began a new sketchbook so that he could have more space to draw along with his Beginning Drawing and Life Drawing students. The images in this post were made between Fall of 2003 and the Summer of 2012.
I have sampled a couple of Blake’s earlier drawings made after his time spent living in the Northern Osaka Prefecture in Japan. After his return from studying at Kansai Gaidai, he says he was one mixed up puppy: he felt that he had become Japanese. He spent a lot of time on ink paintings and drawings of Japanese culture before realized he had no business commenting on Japanese culture as an “insider.” Reverse culture shock is a real thing!
The early drawings were made to meet assignments/requirements. As the sketchbook progresses, it shows more personal development and exploratory drawings expanding upon a body of work based in ecological themes. The drawings begin while he was living in Cedar Falls, Iowa attending the University of Northern Iowa. This sketchbook took him through the rest of his undergraduate studies there and into his graduate studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. The book then spent a brief stint in Winterville, Georgia before moving on to Baton Rouge for 4 years before making its final open journey with us to Murray, Kentucky.