Timed drawings

Just started on a 15-week (15 years, with my tempo) program of creative exercises, taken from a book about cartooning. They range from spontaneous drawing to multi-page comic spreads. This week, I’ve been using a timer.

The book, by the way, is called “Cartooning: Philosophy and practice” by Ivan Brunetti. I picked up a copy last year after seeing it mentioned in Lynda Barry’s “Syllabus”.

Exercise 1.1 is simple enough: draw some cars, cats, castles, telephones and self-portraits. The kicker is that you’re on a timer set for 4 minutes, then 2, then 1 – then 30, 15 and 5 seconds.

Left: 4 minute car. Right: 5 second car.

Seeing the difference is fun, but it’s not like the drawings automatically get worse as they’re drawn faster. Inversely, they gain a something the “prettier” drawings don’t always have. My personal favorites all came from the 1-minute and 30-second sessions.

Gary Panter puts it nicely:

“...drawing very realistically with great finesse can sometimes produce dead uninteresting drawings — relative, that is, to a drawing with heart and charm and effort but no great finesse.”