I must be starting to relax finally, because even though my book is still not turned in (Friday is my drop-dead deadline), I’ve spent the morning so far procrastinating like a champ. Here are things I’ve done today that have nothing to do with the book:

Wrote a short list of ideas for 2012.

 Wandered around the studio and thought about cleaning up.

• Took a 15-minute “nap.”

• Spent 20 minutes doing the activity below, which perhaps you can try, too (you know, in your free time these next few weeks!)

Wrote this blog post.

ACTIVITY

1. I have a large collection of art-related books and have been wanting recently to go through them one by one and spend a bit of time “transcribing” different artist’s work, and then doing a drawing inspired by it, but try to make it more my style. So this was today’s attempt:

The book was “The Innocent Eye: Children’s Art and the Modern Artist” by Jonathan Fineberg. I flipped through the book until this page of art by Joan Miro caught my eye (part of a series inspired by children’s art titled “The Childhood of Ubu”).

So I made my “copy” (above). I tried not to worry about copying it exactly, but just retaining the essence of Miro/Ubu’s drawing.

Next I did this dog very loosely based on another Miro image; I basically looked at Miro’s, then drew this one by “memory.”

Next I did this zebra from my imagination only. I stuck with the limited colors of the black brush pen, a red watercolor pencil, a yellow Sharpie, and a mechanical pencil.

Finally, again with no references, I did kind of a “half Miro-Ubu/half Carla.”

* * *

Why do this? All four drawings smack of Miro and the last thing I want to do is copy him (or anyone else). But there are elements of his work I love, and it is helpful for me to “walk in his shoes” a bit by copying his work.

But then, it’s just as important (for me) to put it away and do my own thing. This little Miro exercise will inform future drawings, I’m sure, but when it does come out, it will be with my own flavor and spin.

When in Portland recently I picked up a wonderful little book, by Ivan Brunetti, “Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice.” He writes:

“We all begin by imitating the styles of our favorite cartoonists, much like apprentices observing a master. Your own work will likely be derivative for quite some time; constant practice, however, will make your work unique.”

* * *

Okay, so now I really need to get back to work and will see you again on the other side!

xoxo