Two details from a drawing currently on the go. I think it is nearly finished, and it is going to be titled Falling from Trees. It measures 88 x 62cm and as usual is ink on paper.
I have a repair to do where I stupidly stuck it to the wall with masking tape. I usually make tabs in the corners for taping or pinning to the wall which get removed when a drawing is finished, but I didn't in the early part of this one's development. Now I remember why I always must do that thing.
On the subject of materials. I always use Japanese tissue for this type and size of drawing. It is extremely strong for one thing, and tolerates a lot of manhandling (though not being masking-taped to the wall!) When you have a piece of work on the go for as long as I do, you will know just how much handling it gets in the course of its development. My line requires the utmost control, so I work very closely to the paper. And never after too much coffee!
The paper is hand-made, and while I don't want to be precious or exotic about this, from an aesthetic point of view it has a very beautiful, irregular surface with a semi-opacity which allows light to travel around the drawing from all directions. It's got great wabi-sabi! The light reflects off what's behind the drawing and sets off the delicacy of the line which is made with a very fine-nib mapping pen and a .10 rotring technical pen.
When I use text in a work, incidentally, it is my own writing from my journal. The texts are stand-alone pieces of prose, usually just a couple of paragraphs of which come about as a result of a thought which triggers an imaginary event in my mind. It's a kind of 'what if …? situation. They are not written specifically for use in any one drawing, I am not thinking about drawing at all when I am writing; nor are the drawings about the words. I don't think in words when I draw. They are conceived quite separately. Often it will happen that I have been making a drawing for weeks, then suddenly remember something I wrote a while ago and realise there is some kind of relationship there. Perhaps it's a naturally symbiotic thing, as it all starts in the same place in my head, but suddenly it's obvious that a piece of writing about a sunset should be incorporated into a drawing of fungi or beasties.
One thing I am aware of is that I write a lot about colour, but draw in black and white - and I do enjoy the contradiction!
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland