We make tools for artists because we’re artists ourselves, so side projects are especially important at Big Cartel. Inside Out features projects that feed our creative appetites outside of work.
Richard Laing is Big Cartel’s Community Director, and an important part of his job is leading the charge when it comes to getting to know and promoting all the artists, designers, and makers who call Big Cartel home. As part of that - and thanks to living in Seattle, Washington - he connects with all kinds of great artists and culture. Earlier this year he pointed his inspiration toward a new hobby: drawing.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve be doing?
I’ve been learning how to draw this year. I’ve had an itch for a while to draw and paint and more generally just try something new. I’ve been so inspired by the way my three year old daughter tries new things. She has no hangups about whether she’s “good” at something. She just goes for it.
I decided to try approaching drawing and painting like that. I started with various types of graphite and charcoal pencils and a small sketchbook. More recently I’ve been working with watercolors, colored pencils, and pens.
Where’d you go to learn more about drawing?
I took the Beginning Drawing and Intermediate Drawing classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center here in Seattle. The classes have been really great in providing an introduction to core concepts like value, perspective, composition, and the various drawing materials. It was also really helpful to give some focus to some techniques to work on outside of class.
What’s your favorite thing about the process?
I find drawing really relaxing. I love the way the brushes, pencils, and pens feel on the paper. I am able to just kind of lose myself in the process of studying objects and working to make some kind of image appear on the paper.
It’s also been the catalyst for lots of great conversations. I’ve talked to many, many people about process, being a novice as an adult, how the process of sketching and building a drawing is similar to building software, and many others. That’s been a really unexpected but welcome perk.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about drawing?
Drawing is a skill that can be learned. I think there is a misconception that some people are gifted and others aren’t. There are skills and techniques that can be learned and honed with practice.
It’s also been enlightening to redefine what success is. A finished piece is a great goal and a reward for hard work. But, the process and act of drawing, studying, learning, and creating is so valuable, too. If you appreciate those aspects, I think it relieves some of the burden around considering yourself “good.”
See what else the Big Cartel team is up to these days.