Forcing Myself to Contradict Myself

Realizing it's been a long time since I've posted anything from my sketchbooks. So here's a sampling of some pages below. You can click on each image to go to a slightly larger version on its Flickr page. If you'd like to see any one of these even larger, let me know and I'll put a link up for you. Sorry that I don't make these images large in the first place, I'm just a little wary of posting high res scans of my artwork. Hope you understand!

sketches 1

sketches 2

sketches 3

sketches 4

sketches 5

sketches 6

sketches 7

Andrea and I watched a documentary on photographer Annie Leibovitz last night. Here's a quote from her: "The camera makes you forget you're there. It's not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much."

When I draw and sketch people and places around me, I lose myself in the process. Even though I have a certain knowledge of how to start each sketch or drawing, it's still a surprise to me how it turns out. And when I look through my past sketchbooks, I'm constantly surprised by the results I see on each page, each drawing. And I can remember the process I took for each drawing: from how I approached the subject, all the way to its completion. It's a funny way of looking at your work, and I like it. It's good to be surprised by your own work—that way, you know you'll never do something the same way twice. At least, that's how I look at it.

I might've mentioned it here on the blog before, but it's worth the mention again: one of my favorite artists of all time is Marcel Duchamp and there's a quote that's attributed to him that pretty much sums it up for me and how I look at what I do as an artist:

"I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste."

I guess you could say that I have a fear of repeating myself. Even though I might approach each drawing differently, I know that my overall style comes through, creating an overall artistic signature, or 'voice', that can't be denied. The end result might look similar to the viewer, but, I know personally, I took the 'road less traveled', and that my artistic journey was one of newness and wonder with each page, each drawing.


  1. Good post.

    Do you ever let yourself go completely random in your sketchbook? Thats what I usually end up doing and I find it de-clogs my brain and surprises me much like you were saying. I imagine too much random doodling's probably not great though - its good to look and draw from life too.

  2. So nicely written, I know exactly what you're saying. That is a great quote too, and the sketches, as always, great!

  3. vantazy, I do go completely random at times but it's a rare occurrence. Take, for instance, the accumulation of heads you see on my last image -- those start off without me thinking at all. Then, I start to work out various head shapes to add. It's a lot of fun.

    thanks, Elisa! Always love your work!

  4. The sketch of Ezra is so spot on.