On recent Summer holidays during time spent without wi-fi – in contrast to bay window views of a windswept New Zealand coastline with dolphins in the waves beyond the dunes – I found myself cat watching. A ball of contentment, my feline host made it clear that chair sitting (on velvet upholstery) was her everyday super power – and who could argue? Instead, I chose one of half a dozen vinyl perches. Then lulled by sounds of the sea, the cry of gulls and purring – I started to sketch.
So, what is a sketch?
Using my own super powers of observation, I picked up a ballpoint pen and began with those closed eyes and an amazing number of whiskers – referencing them and her nose. I positioned her ears; sketched the shape of her cheeks which lead to her tail tucked-in under her chin, there with her paws. After that, another sketchy flurry of light pen lines to suggest her overall shape, and I was back where I started. But it doesn’t end there!
When does a sketch become a drawing?
Once the basic observations of shape and position of elements were on paper, I began making deliberate choices about my use of lines. First, expressive lines to create this-and-that-way tufts and the silkiness of fur. I’d say at this point, a more deliberate craft of drawing, akin but separate to sketching began. I was looking less at my subject – glancing quickly at the cat – enjoying the drawing of lines to create light and shade – add texture.
It’s not long before texture becomes a pattern. And so the shape of the velvet chair – an imperfect outline – was soon upholstered with rows of arrow-like lines, bending with the cushioned fabric. The arrows are not there in reality – they cannot be observed – they are a construct and a choice I’ve made. They add depth and some height to the fabric. And so the fur ball cat sits nestled there – on the fabric of her chair – the focus of this drawing.
I think drawing seems to suggest making a series of conscious choices – beyond the initial observation of a sketch.
Perhaps you have your own interpretation – are sketching and drawing one and the same?