frequently asked questions
- Are the drawings really only one line?
- Do you ever pick up your pen or is it all done in the same continuous motion?
I do pick up the pen. My hand gets tired, yo! But I pick back up where I left off each time and continue the line.
- How long does it take you to do a one-liner?
Time taken is dependent upon the size and scale of the drawing. Some of the 8x10in abstract drawings take only 20-30 minutes, while larger works with planning and prep work, like the 18x24in snail, take more like 7-9 hours. It also depends on whether it's a subject I've drawn before. The fish in the YouTube time lapse video took about 2-3 hours to draw from sketch to final, plus another hour or so for the mistakes. :-)
- Why one line?
I have found, for me, that my creativity is born from constraint. Having the constraint of only having one line allows me to focus on making shapes and shadows in interesting ways.
- Do the lines ever touch or cross?
The lines do touch occasionally, but never cross. That's part of the fun of drawing them. They become an evolving maze for me to sort through as I draw it.
- How did you get started with this style of drawing?
This is a long one, so bear with me for a minute on the background. I've been doodling like this for a few years in my notebooks and during meetings, but they never had any real direction. So now for the rest of the story:
In May of 2012, I went to dinner with some friends and two friends of theirs who were in town from San Francisco. They were sisters and one of them had traveled to India for three weeks in late 2011. While there, she saw terrible amounts of trash and waste, landfills that took up square miles that were full of junk from around the world. Countries around the world ship their garbage to India for "disposal," but really it just goes there and sits in a landfill. Upon returning to the States, she and her sister decided to take on a challenge of only buying 5 items for all of 2012. Five items that were new, unused previously and were not specifically to replace something that was broken or worn out. No new clothes, no DVD's, no shoes, etc. Things bought second-hand did not "count," nor did items for consumption like food, beverages, etc. Five items. For a year.
So, when I met them in May, I fell in love with their idea and I decided to take on the challenge for the rest of 2012, limiting myself to only 3 items (since almost half the year was gone, seemed only fair to limit myself further than five). Honestly, the first 3 months weren't difficult at all. By September, I had bought a little souvenir from the Willis Tower in Chicago, but that was the only thing I'd purchased. And then it started to get more difficult. I really started to realize how tied to consumerism everything is. I'd go to the grocery store and I'd be looking at stuff on the cookware aisle. The gleaming, shiny, new stuff was staring at me. Calling to me. But I persevered and made it to December with only 2 items purchased: the Willis Tower keychain and a Houston Dynamo jersey I purchased at the Dynamo game when they were in the semifinals of the MLS championship.
December is Christmastime, and Christmastime is the season of visiting family and giving. I was planning on visiting family in Florida, so my last purchase of 2012 was a self-cleaning litterbox for my cat. Really it was for my roommate so he wouldn't have to scoop up the cat's business while I was gone. You're welcome, Adam.
So I go to visit my family, tapped out on my items for the year, no way to purchase anything, and I decide to do some artwork for them instead of gifts. I had been doing these doodles for a while with one line that never crossed itself and so I wanted to try to make some artwork out of it. My Dad and stepmom and grandparents all live in Florida, so I wanted to do something Florida-y, so I started with fish. And the one liners were born.
For the frames, secondhand items didn't count towards my total, so I went to the Goodwill store and bought frames there, then cut the paper down to match the sizes of the frames. For wrapping paper, I used magazine pages and newspaper.
The gifts were a hit, and two years later, the website is finally up and I'm doing art shows. It's crazy! And it all started from a little challenge in 2012 and dinner with some really cool people.