Fell Into the Gap

A couple things.

A combination of warm weather and a recent read through of Kendi Everyday’s “working closet” tutorial gave me the itch to spring clean my closet. During Step 1 (Purging), I discovered the following:

This is pretty much what I look like on a day-to-day basis. No shame or anything, I love the Gap. I just didn’t realize how much I loved the Gap until I went through my closet piece by piece. I didn’t even note the chipped red nail polish and skinny belt figural me ought to be wearing, both of them Gap products.

I enjoy “what I wore” drawings much more than photos. I get so sick of seeing the same girls photograph themselves on my Instagram feed that I start to hate them all. Danielle Kroll’s clothing illustrations are some of the best I know of and I love how Eveline Tarunadjaja visually lays out her clothes. They’re more art than self-indulgence but still have that voyeuristic diary element that makes the otherwise potentially mundane so interesting. Clothes are more like talismans in drawings. Not exact like a photograph.

Anyway, between sketching, regular internet image hoarding and closet cleaning, I wondered: what would it look like if I made one? And then I realized I might only ever need to make just the one. What I Wear as opposed to What I Wore. It’s not all the same, of course (my uniform turns to skirts in the summer and skirts with knee socks in the fall), but it’s mighty close. During a recent shopping excursion I noticed I was only looking at striped shirts (of which I had recently acquired two already) and it occurred to me that if I didn’t inventory my wardrobe and Assess (Step 2), I would soon find myself with a cartoon character closet of nothing but black/navy and white striped boat neck shirts. There was once a point in my life when I owned seven black sweaters, you guys. I don’t want to go down that road again. I’m not Wednesday Addams, much as it saddens me. So until I reach Steps 4 and 5 (Shopping and Remixing), consider this my look.

The other thing:

I am having a great moral dilemma concerning iPads. Or more specifically: tablets as sketchpads. This is related because I borrowed my parent’s iPad to try out some drawing apps this past week and it made me rethink how I use Photoshop. Drawing on the iPad without a stylus (I know that’s not the proper way, but it was just a test drive) and the low resolution made me feel like I might as well just be drawing on my desktop. But I liked the ease of the preset brushes in some of the apps. The 53 Paper app, for example, is so sleek but, as one reviewer stated, “featureless”. You can’t zoom in? Your palette is limited to nine colors? No brush size or opacity control? Really? But it looks great. There are little simulated Kyoto Moleskine booklets with manilla pages. And after I finished oohing and ahhing I thought… you want to spend hundreds of dollars to get a digital notebook and an eggshell background? It encouraged me to open Photoshop and create a more sketchbook like setting. Stop drawing on pure white, make your own brushes, add texture, and for god’s sake, try using the pressure sensitivity on your tablet for a change, Nicole! So that’s what this sketch is. A better desktop sketching experience that makes me feel excited to draw in a way I haven’t felt in a while.


Another digital sketch. A bit uncharacteristic but a really enjoyable bit of experimentation with brush transfers.
You can see other sketches at my Tumblr sketchbook.

But I still feel torn about the iPad. It’s so impressive, but compared to my desktop, so limited. Is it worthwhile or just frivolous? Up until now I’ve pretty much written them off as bulky iPhones without the phone. I don’t need to be able to surf the web more often or even more comfortably (which would only lead to more of the more). I don’t want to read on it (I prefer eInk screens). I don’t have a long commute anymore and don’t need a portable device to entertain me on any kind of regular basis (the phone that’s glued to my palm aside). But I wonder, would I sketch more if I had one? Would I sketch better? Would it make me lazy? Would I be writing pen and paper off forever in favor of lesser digital approximations? I don’t know why I have this all or nothing attitude. I used to sell Nooks and always thought that the people who approached buying one as if it meant they’d never be able to purchase another hardcover novel again in their lives and were they willing to give that up (at this point, said people would generally mention how they loved the smell of books, which I always find stupid. I love books too, but when books smell it’s because they’re old and musty and it isn’t actually a pleasant thing so let it go). YOU CAN HAVE BOTH. Children’s novel with full color illustrations that I’ll probably drool over numerous times? Buy the hardcover. Latest stupidity in the Pretty Little Liars series? eBook. Poetry collection I want to be able to quickly leaf through? Paperback. 800+ page Russian novel that I don’t want to throw my back out lugging around? eBook. So why do I have the same stupid feelings about my sketching habits that other fools have about reading? Well… it isn’t exactly the same. Books are typed words either way. Digital pencil strokes will never look like real ones. But most of my finished work is digital at this point anyway. I don’t know. I guess that iPad as sketchbook makes me feel like I’m at some sort of crossroads. Like it will make me irreversibly art-lazy. Fortunately I don’t actually have any iPad funds and this whole debate I’m having with myself is utterly pointless! For now. But it’ll come around again (it’s the FUTURE after all) and I guess I want to know how I feel about it.

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