Don’t Throw it Away!

You can always use it later!

IMG_0112One of the things my brother Jeremy taught me was never to throw away any of my art. Consequently, I still have drawings and watercolors of landscapes, buildings, and people from back in my high school days. I also went through a phase of making block prints from wood and linoleum. It’s still hard for me to toss the original works, even when I have plenty of distance from them to see their beginner-level quality. His words were important to me, and gave me a much-needed respect for my own art work and the importance of creating it. He also insisted that I sign everything.

IMG_0112aBut with the advent of digital photography and scanners and Adobe Photoshop, the concept of not throwing anything away takes on a whole new meaning. That first photo is a very early drawing that I did when I got a set of gel pens for my kids. It’s on construction paper, which is the worst of all because it fades so rapidly. You can see fading on the edge because I kept it in a folder and only the edge was sticking out. This was probably from 2002 or so. I didn’t sign it since I was just playing!

IMG_0112abBut now I can crop it, sharpen it, brighten it, and change the colors on it. It’s still not the same style as what I would do today, but that crummy piece of construction paper has become something worth saving. I can make this into a photo print for a card, or, God forbid, put it into a different shape for a t-shirt. Or something.  Maybe I should just print it and make origami out of it.

IMG_0112abcI can even manipulate it into an entirely new design with new colors, although I can’t show you that tonight because I’m supposed to be torturing myself with physical therapy before I go to bed. But my point is that even bad art can be changed into something pleasant to look at, although it might not be the original pen on paper.

For each drawing I do, even tiny ones, there are now an unlimited number of variations. Once, I took an original, manipulated it, and re-drew (free-hand) the design based on the manipulation. I’ve also taken sections of a newly-arranged design and made a new original using the shape as an outline.

Some other time I’ll show you an example that will demonstrate how one thing led to another.

But for now, I just thought I’d show you how one drawing is never really used up or useless, even when it isn’t something I’d hang on the wall. Here’s just one more example from those days:


IMG_0113abcDo you think it might make good wrapping paper?

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!


6 responses to “Don’t Throw it Away!

  1. The very top photo reminds me of some designs on leather, from Mexico, that my mother had when we were kids. Yes, it would make very good wrapping paper.

  2. Imagine that! Technology is great when you find new uses for it. Wonderful how you can change colour and rework patterns. In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have know this to be so. I like this design and of course my favourite is fourth pattern you’ve changed to blues and lavender.

  3. Jeanne – I finally took some time to browse your blog and am so glad I did – I guess I didn’t know you were such an accomplished pattern maker – your designs are delightful! I added you to my reader so I can keep up with your happenings….Thanks for the p/c – one is coming your way!

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