a tidy but leaky little ship

Spent some time cleaning and reorganizing a corner of the studio this morning. It is difficult not to think of this kind of time as a waste, as time not spent creating. But I find that it helps order my thoughts, which is always a struggle, and sometimes engenders a sense of blank slate, or restart, which is nearly always positive. And then I find things, and remember why or how I wanted to use them, and that gives me a little push, a little impetus, and reminds me that the possibilities are endless.

This image here was exactly half the process for a poster to advertise an upcoming reading; the second half was hand-rendered text (also in India ink) to go in the black surround, whereupon I put the whole thing together in Photoshop.

But then I found out the text was all wrong. Because no one gave me the right text. Just like no one had told me anything all the way along. And my past dealings with this particular publisher have not exactly been rewarding; in fact, the entire event was being handled like drunken cowboys trying to stuff five-legged cattle into the back of a taxi.

In situations like this, as a graphic designer, I feel I have a great advantage over the general population. As a group we don’t have a lot going for us (medium brain wattage, at best), but the one thing we know really, really well is the feeling of being treated casually, and how to react to it. Which is to say: not react to it.

The best analogy that comes to mind is when I play chess against the computer, in that I fully expect to lose. In fact, I will almost always lose. And this knowledge is a kind of protection. As a graphic designer, whenever I work with other people, I also expect to lose; I fully expect those people to (quickly) reveal themselves as either crazy or clownish. So there’s literally no pressure. Everything will always be a gong show, and I have no control over it.

So now I have an orphaned drawing. It’ll go in a drawer to be revisited someday.


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