There was a time when I was about 8 or 9 and I drew everything in sight in my homemade sketchbooks. No blank piece of paper was immune if I could get my hands on a pencil, pen or any mark making device! I was not shy and I had no care about what other people thought of my drawings. People carried cameras and I carried my sketchbooks. I sat and I drew. Hours would pass by and I would keep filling the pages of my drawing books.
Then there was the time when I was 13 or 14 and I was shy to sit and draw in public. I restricted myself to drawing what I could see through the windows and balcony of our flat in the city. That shyness evaporated when I visited my grandma in the country and the change of scene was invigorating. My aunt would complain to my mom that I brought with me so few clothes. There was no space in the suitcase after I filled it with all the drawing paper I could fit.
As time went on, life got busier and busier. In my 20s, it was no longer possible to set time aside for reading, sketching and the like. It was not possible to keep drawing without making all the new people in my life – my husband, in-laws, new friends through my husband feel downright ignored. And then bags had to be packed with diapers, several changes of baby clothing, food and more. There was no more space for sketchbooks. Life had expanded in fascinating ways and even though there was no time to sketch, the amazing experiences were marinating inside while waiting to find the thread back to the surface.
Before long, the babies grew up to be children and there were many commutes to places for them to learn to swim, dance, do martial arts, make things in STEM club and there was waiting. It was BEAUTIFUL – pockets of time that were solely mine on most days and right there was the other end of that lost thread. As I packed for the kids, I packed a bag for myself as well with just the basics – a journal, a pen and a water bottle.
As travel became a requirement for my work, I took a sketchbook along and I drew at the airport, on the plane, in the taxi, on the go. I narrowed my essentials down to a no-objection-from-anyone-content-and-size and I resumed sketching on location, aware and unaware of my surroundings at the same time.
I take my time to draw. I don’t always finish on location. I take pictures with my phone for reference if I have to. But I carry on. When I can, I listen to audio books while I sketch. I try to find ways to do all the things that I can’t not do without neglecting everything I must do.
And I don’t judge.
Some drawings turn out okay, many don’t. I am happy doing it. And that is more than what I had expected.