Nicole sent me an email the other day telling me about how I’d left a comment on her drawing-a-day site site ‘Finkle Boudit’ many weeks ago. I’m glad she reminded me of her work, because I was pleasantly surprised to see it again. I’d noticed her drawing-a-day regime was falling back slightly, and thought it’d be great to see those daily drawings re-booted.
Her pictures are simple, funny and honest in their loose and seemingly un-technical compositions. But there is a method behind these little sketches and a lot more consistency than appears at first sight. Nicole’s work demonstrates there is value in consistency and simplicity in contemporary illustration.
I gave her a quick interview to find out more about her.
What keeps you busy apart from your sketches every day?
Honestly, not too much else in the way of art-making (besides the little drawings), but there’s been a lot of art-looking going on lately. I feel like I’m really excited by a lot of what I see on Etsy.com. There’s so much great stuff on there and I have no idea who most of the people who make it are but that’s part of what inspires me the most. Anybody can make things and everything is special.
Quilts and ceramics and bow ties for cats and drawings… I spend far too much time on that website, searching and searching and searching.
What got you into drawing regularly in the way that you do?
I have to admit I have a tendency to compare myself to other artists much more than I probably should. That probably started when I was in art college (tiny Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass.).
I’d peek at another artist’s work and think to myself, “now why is it that that person can make something so finished or so big or so colorful and all I want to do is make something quick?” Then I’d get to work on trying to make something finished looking or big or colorful and feel like I was a big phony.
That’s not how I LIKE to draw and who says I have to do anything I don’t LIKE to do? Nobody but me and I should really stop with all that.
Making a drawing a day is a way of getting OVER the thought that these little drawings aren’t important and that there’s real value in a tiny little thing that comes out of nowhere especially if it feels genuine enough.
What are your drawing instruments?
Cheap, cheap things! I’ve been very fond of Papermate Sharpwriters (the yellowish/orange-ish mechanical pencils with the twisty tan tip and nice little pink eraser) and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Oh, and a big stack of computer paper that costs just about nothing for a mountain of it
Usually, the cheaper the materials, the better I think my drawings come out (probably because the expensive stuff psychs me out) but when I’m feeling slightly fancier I’ll use a Prismacolor Premier black fine line pen and Faber-Castell’s PITT artist pen in this really great dark yellow color
I suppose my biggest problem with my use of cheap materials is that when anyone wants to buy a drawing I feel pretty guilty that the physical thing they’re going to own might likely fall to pieces someday.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m thinking about getting back to work on my drawing-a-day blog at Finkle Boudit. I’ve been focusing on some other things for a while (like how my taste-buds feel like they need to shake the hands of bakery I can find in Portland) so I took a couple months off but I’m feeling my attention coming back around.
I might need a new scanner though because the one I’ve got has a petulant side to her.
ⓒ Nicole MacNeill, 2009
Good luck with getting back on track with those drawings!