So, a secret to most people who know me these days: I used to draw. Like, a lot. I never used to get tired of drawing.

In high school I would scribble and visually annotate journals. In college, I would sit in coffee joints and listen to Middle Eastern music and fill up books with...well mostly a lot of scribbling, but I was pretty consistent about it. After college, I would sit in a Richmond diner until the wee hours of the morning, drinking coffee and drawing illustrations for OSHA instructional manuals (seriously. I wasn't yet aware of it, but it was the instructional text part that amused me. Who would read these? Why? Did these even help? But I digress...).

I eventually stopped. Like, stopped entirely - no scribbling, no works, no illustrations. Once I moved to Washington DC, I had pretty much divested myself of all art materials, all sketchbooks. Later, as my girlfriend and I moved from apartment to apartment in Arlandria Chirilagua, I got rid of more and more of my stuff; suddenly, old works and tools were stuff (I was also on the path to becoming what I am today, and a lot of that journey included Linux sandboxes and elearning authoring tools). When we got married and moved into our own home, I took the opportunity to gt rid of even more things. The drawing table - the table to which I tacked paper in order to create small animations, or design logos - had to go. As I dropped it off at Goodwill, I remember that it smelled like clove cigarettes. I was glad to get it out of the car.

Anyway, I say all of this because in recent years - largely thanks to activities at events like Up to All of Us - I've been itching to do something again. Thanks to the whip list and an old Bamboo tablet and pen that was left over from an old instructional design job (long story for another day), I've been trying to get reacquainted with just drawing - this time, using digital tools.

It has been pretty hard. For one, I spent some time fiddling around with platforms and applications. After some trial and error over the last few weeks, I find myself most comfortable working with either Pencil 2Dor Krita plugged into my aging Acer Aspire One netbook (running the latest Ubuntu desktop). Secondly, I am finding out how tactile an artist I am. I am realizing that I relied a lot on the drag of a pencil or the crush of a charcoal stick to know when and where to make moves. With the Bamboo tablet, I don't get that visceral feedback. On top of that, I have to look up at the screen as my hand works the pen and tablet. I'm still not very good at it.

my badly drawn version of a Prescient

For example, arriving at the image above took me a long, long time - way longer than it would have with tols that I no longer have at my disposal. But I'll keep at it. I hope to move on to creating animations soon - that is, once I can make lines flow like they used to, and shades obey my commands. It's sort of like what I imagine learning to walk again to be - laborious, painful, frustrating. I don't even have the gut pleasing option of balling up an offensive image and tossing into a wire wastebasket when I haven't executed the way that I'd like to.

Anyway, mission (barely) accomplished. What should my next challenge be?