Modernism for beginners (or so she says)

Perfectionism… is… one of my lifelong bugbears. It’s especially hard to wrangle when I’ve worked really hard all my life to get good in one medium (prose) and now I’m practicing a new one (whatever we’re calling the index cards). That said, while this batch has what I’d consider some big failures, execution-wise, they’re interesting (and fun) failures, and I’m proud of that. They’re also completed failures, which is the best way to learn from them (supposedly) — I’m proud of that too.

This set also marks one month of waking up and doing this exercise! I can already see what I gravitate toward, and where I want to level up. I really enjoy integrating collage, especially when it’s of non-magazine material. Not a lot of squiggle monsters this batch, but I do think I should start setting myself some guidelines. Themes? Styles? Multiple interpretations of the same object? I’d love suggestions, so definitely feel free to leave some in the comments.

Today I don’t have a particularly insightful prelude to share, but I was pretty amused at how I kept defaulting to ~abstract and ~surreal visuals. It’s ’50s beatnik cool cat nonsense up in here, friends. Hope you enjoy!

021 - Aaahhh!!! Relatable Monsters
Day 21: Aaahhh!!! Relatable Monsters! This actually might be the only true squiggle monster in here. I have to confess, I only rarely watched Aaahhh!!! Real Monsters as a kid (they freaked me out just a little more than they delighted me), but I think I’m ready for them now. Colored pencil and marker.
022 - All the news that's fit to print
Day 22: All the News That’s Fit to Print. I super did not know where this was going when I sat down that afternoon (I’d had a deadline in the morning). You can’t lose with vaguely sequential-looking divisions and a variety of patterns, though. Marker and watercolor.
023 - Wisteria?
Day 23: Wisteria? By this point in the week (yes, this early), I was starting to worry these abstract cards were a cop-out. This one feels like a menu screen for a slightly incomprehensible video game to me, and it’s got this motion/balance/stillness thing going on that I quite like. Watercolor and marker.
024 - 634 AM across the street
Day 024: 6:34 a.m. across the street. So this was supposed to reflect the lovely urban views I get to see when I take Ira on his first walk of the day! What I learned instead is that I need to work on perspective, scale and edifices. That said, a clear sunrise in my Brooklyn neighborhood really is a thing to drink in. Watercolor.
025 - Welcome Back Calder
Day 25: Welcome Back, Calder. This started with just the four black swoops in the middle. (Actually, I lie; the red border came first.) Again, no idea where I would take this, no idea how to art my way out! But again, leaning into the idea of variety and texture has been really exciting for me. I’m already ready to up my game here. Watercolor and marker.
026 - Olive Drab
Day 26: Olive Drab. Sooooo, I needed an afternoon at my favorite art supply store. I was looking for a delicate marker that wasn’t black, for detail work; I came away with a new liquid watercolor shade, which is in every color element of the figure and the background. I’m pleased overall with her proportions, but honestly I’m most proud of her knees. Is that weird? (No.) Liquid watercolor and India ink.
027 - A note from Walter
Day 27: A Note From Walter. I truly do not know which way is up on this piece. It looks cool from every angle, and with light shining through the back. By the way, even at 33, it turns out Spirographs are still hard. Also, yes, this is Fringe fanart. Watercolor, marker and collage.
028 - Ira inspires a next step
Day 28: Ira inspires a next step. Yeah, so not my style, but I didn’t really know what else to do. Started with the thought that this could be one of those new Polaroids, ended up with a Disneyfied revelation? Marker and colored pencil.
029 - Not remotely an apple
Day 29: Not remotely an apple. So there were mangoes on sale, and I love mangoes, even if I can’t fully tell when they’re ripe yet, and I had been primed both by a bit in Hari Kondabolu’s new Netflix special and the 50th episode of one of my favorite podcasts/coping strategies, Says Who. Anyway, here’s looking at you, Magritte. Watercolor and India ink.
030 - Busby Beanie
Day 30: Busby Beanie. Monochrome! It’s for cool kids! It’s… so much harder to pull off than you think!! That said, this one does have an assist from what looks like a drop of curry sauce, sorry not sorry. Just scribble some shit! Make some patterns! It’s a metaphor! Markers and curry.

If you want to watch these come out day by day, here’s the Twitter thread where they all live. Thanks for stopping by, and catch you on the flip side!


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