Month: May 2020

Bigger on the Inside

The Cave wall as sketchbook

Many thousands of years ago early artists scratched, hammered and stained marks on rock, bone and shell (and probably wood too, though, with a few exceptions, wooden artefacts don’t preserve well). Those engraved and pigmented masterpieces, as well as the people who created them, were a source of wonder for me, one which led me to study archaeology and human evolutionary biology (palaeoanthropology).

Interpretations of what that early art meant to its makers are as numerous and subjective as the minds that created them, but I think it’s fair to say the impulses that drove their creativity are the same for us today. Those early images reveal much about the prehistoric environment, but more importantly, they reveal how like ours the minds of the creators were.

The timeless nature of the ancient rock art reminds me of modern sketchbooks in that they are, among other things, illustrated records of our internal lives. Like a contemporary artist’s journal, rock art wasn’t only ornamental or fun; it was intentional and it was meaningful. It provided an outlet for the very human penchant for story-telling. It was creativity illustrated. 

The point of this blog:

I am a full-time artist, deeply committed to pen and ink, and watercolour for my professional work, but I spend most of my time with my head in sketchbooks and art journals – my own and other peoples. I am fascinated by illustrated creativity and how incredibly diverse the methods and formats are, and because it is timeless. I also have an academic and personal interest in the material remains of past and present people, particularly with respect to creativity.

This blog is mostly about pictures (the illustrated kind) and how we use them for story-telling, self-expression, visualisation, reflection, and recollection, and to impart information and to entertain. I created it to explore both traditional and digital media, but also ways for combining the two.  

This blog is in honour of all the illustrators, past and present, who remind us constantly that there is no correct way to illustrate creativity.

I hope you will join me on this visual tour.