Saturday, March 21, 2015

In praise of old school

We've had a bit of a systems upgrade here ; dragged kicking and screaming into some new version of OS X that has added greatly to my sum of grey hairs and deepened forehead furrows and depleted bank accounts, but hey... it had to happen some time, and I judged that now was as good a time as any. I took myself off to the nearest Temple to consumerism and joined the sheeple, poking and prodding in worshipful adoration of all things shiny and new.

As I explained what I needed a new slim metal connected ether-brain for, I came up against my old-fashionedness as an illustrator. No, I didn't need to run the most recent version of i-DrAFT or rembrandt proTools. No, I wasn't remotely interested in acquiring a mat thingy that I could draw on with a digital stylus which would connect to the thunderbolt portal, or was that the lightning door, or was it the usb hubble or - och, feeeech. And when I hauled out a notebook and wrote myself some reminders with a -gasp- pencil - I felt like a small but very cross time-travelling dinosaur being peered at by a group of wet-behind-the-ears student paleontologists.

Paper, pencils, charcoal, light from the sun. Watercolours. Such things don't need an instruction manual or a menu. They do require a lifetime's study, giving up their secrets one by one, and rewarding my patience by happy accidentals ; a smudge here, a granular texture there, a glorious gradation from light to shade that simply happened in exactly the right place and the perfect density of grey to black... such things make me stand back from my drawing and take a deep and happy breath.

I tend not to do that too often, standing back from my new, slim, metal, connected ether-brain. More a holding of breath and hoping against hope that I haven't done something too awful, wiped anything irrevocably or mangled a file beyond repair. Must ask at the Temple if there are specific prayers or hymns suitable for such occasions. Here in Outer Caledonia, we tend to use the simple forms ; Ya Beauty for those moments when files synch correctly, and the Och ya wee toly for system crashes, kerning nightmares and the black screen of doom. O spare us...