A process that is achieved over time, drawing is well placed as a practice research tool, to document at the pace of the thing you are trying to record. It is also a visual record of creativity as it is happens, a document of the creative thinking and process that transforms observation and thought into something tangible and visual.
I use the term drawn in it’s loosest form in this context, to encompass illustration, diagrams, mark making, scribbling, outlining and, debatably, musical notation. All of the visual marks that aren’t legible words and sentences.
Conciseness: Drawing from a situation forces a concise observation about the thing that is at the core of what I want to re-communicate. Ten minutes, an hour, a day of observation on one page. The drawing process creates the need to distill, to consider the most simplest form by which to communicate something more complex.
Documentation: I document, or begin to record, a place and time in drawing and notes. This record dissolves into interpretation, and further into imagination. What is created, the product, can hold something of the essence of the “thing”, without depicting the thing itself. The illustrations are not of actual people and situations, but my response to communicate some aspect of an real encounter or observation, which may have been a similar situation or different.
Illustrating the gaps and visual ambiguity: Drawing allows me to elevate the ambiguous and shifting space of dialogue, where there’s a gap in language or communication, a missed connection or understanding. Add a drawing to a random comment and suddenly there is a ‘something’, and that ‘something’ can be ultimately definable or relatively obscure. Even nonsense can begin to make sense. And vice versa.
Illustrating/drawing/cartooning: Allows a fast and immediate response, I have time to do it and I can carry my materials with me. Drawing also avoids over-wording and linguistic hierarchies (like avoiding the use of phrases such as Linguistic Hierarchies), unless that is the content itself.
Humour and additional context: Working in this way allows me to find the humour within encounters and challenges. A situation, when drawn, goes through creative interpretation and thought processes to reimagine it from it’s original context. Things can be made lighter, or heavier.
The use of office materials to draw: In the sketchbooks, using those things at hand within the office (pens, highlighters, marker pens) as integral to the content.