Pencils or pixels?

| 6 Comments

creative perspectivesThis past week in China I experienced many exotic and fascinating places. I drew some, photographed a few (on b/w film with a camera older than me, thanks to Jim). I looked. I listened. I leapt into the unknown and the creative.

But was it enough? It was extremely satisfying and I've returned with a head and heart full of unforgetable moments, scenes glimpsed, and people remembered. I have stories to tell and images to upload, but does it satisfy my lifelong goal of sharing my experiences so fully that someone else understands them?

As I prepare for my next trip and the ones after that, I am in a quandary.

Should I continue to draw my way around the world, making amateurish pictures on paper that engage me mentally and physically but might not convey much about the real experience to the viewer? Or should I bring along the gadgets necessary to record the experiences digitally?

The trouble is that with each device I carry, I put myself at risk of living the moment only through that device. Turn on the audio recording gear and I forget to look at things. Flip open the viewfinder of the video camera and the scents of the place disappear as I look for an engaging motion and sound.

I worry, too, that gear will bewitch me and I'll stop drawing. I don't seem to be able to switch between them very easily. After using the film camera for the first couple of busy days in Hunan province, it was difficult to relax into the slower pace of sketching. Drawing requires me to be in one place for more than 30 seconds.

There are situations when it is simply not possible to draw at length. Is it prudent then to take a pass on capturing those moments at all? Or is it better to turn to technology and risk losing the joy of drawing?

I have a couple of weeks to decide. In the meantime, I am checking out the specs and prices on some tiny easy-to-pack DV cameras, just in case.

6 Comments

Remember that any story received will have to go through the filters (read life experiences) of the receiver. I guess I need to understand what you mean by the receivers understanding of the story telling.. :)

The great thing about story telling is the unknown reception of information as it goes through the filters of other people. Personally I feel it enriches my own experience as much as the story has enriched the other person.

I just want to hear your stories and see your creations as they have already enriched my life experience... Great to have you back honey.

Dear Kirsten,
I found your blog by accident and have been reading it for awhile. As an ex-Tokyoite it is very natsukashii to read.
Having just viewed your sketches of China, I wanted to put in my vote that you continue sketching. They are absolutely wonderful!!

Dear Kirsten,
I found your blog by accident and have been reading it for awhile. As an ex-Tokyoite it is very natsukashii to read.
Having just viewed your sketches of China, I wanted to put in my vote that you continue sketching. They are absolutely wonderful!!

Sara Aoyama
Brattleboro, Vermont

Looking at the photos and the pictures again, I'd recommend that you go with the pictures. They convey so much feeling that I think they communicate the sense of place better than photographs. Sometimes a photograph is amazing, too--Jon's photos of the woman weaving and the cook preparing dinner at Yao Inn--so I can understand your dilemma.

Isn't the answer obvious?

Borg-like implants!

Then you'll be free to draw while digitally absorbing your surroundings onto various and multiple media as a constant background process.

We could probably fix you up with some strap-on gear in the short term. ;-)

Here I am just wandering through your blog, first time in ages. I don't know if you'll even see this post because it's a late one.

Of course I would say keep with the sketches.They're lovely and express a lot in their simplicity, and, as you say, it's a more meditative process. Remember, if you're not happy with them they WILL continue to improve the more you do it. My advice is to keep doing them and watch your proficiency increase before your very eyes!

You could always take digipics of the scenes you choose to draw/paint and then sketch away, knowing that you've got both bases covered.... (the sketching being the priority of course...)

But then, as you probably know, I'm biased! :-) I believe that non-digital is better for the soul.

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