The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by Gus Mueller
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November 28, 2009

The name of this site, "The Shape of Everything", originates from me participating in NaNoDrawMo this past month. I'd draw in my sketchbook based off an image I was looking at, draw draw draw, and then actually look at what I just made.

THE SHAPES ARE COMPLETELY OFF. I'M NOT GETTING THE SHAPE OF THINGS.

Time and time again. It is very frustrating.

And since "The Shape of Things" is already taken (it's a movie), I transmorgified what I blurted out into "The Shape of Everything".

It's true. Physical objects don't have a monopoly on having shape. Applications, ideas, even sounds have shapes. Here's jm playing some blues, and it has shape.

I love that tune. I want to play my guitar like that, I want to draw and play and put form to what I see in my head.

. . .

I was looking at what I put down in my sketchbook, and it had no shape. That is to say; it did have a shape, but it wasn't a shape I enjoyed looking at. It was all wrong, and it sucked, and it wasn't hard to see that it sucked. Which is very disappointing, because sometimes things can suck but you have to look a while to find this out. But there it was, all suck and shapeless, and it was easy to see.

But I know, because it's the same with everything I've ever done, that my drawings will improve with practice. It might take ten years, but that's ok because if it was easy to draw the way I really want to, then it wouldn't be worth anything. But even armed with this knowledge, it's scary to draw since I know what I produce will be ugly, shapeless.

The new strategy is to trick myself into drawing more.

Now I keep a number of sketchbooks scattered around the house (since I've always had more sketchbooks than drawings), and a couple of pencils always within reach (Staedtler 3b-6b). If I'm making coffee, or just have a minute to spare while waiting for something to warm up, then there's an opportunity to sketch. And I don't have to travel out of the room to do it. It's right there, waiting for me. Frictionless.

Only time will tell how this works out, but I'm hopeful.

. . .

You would think that working on Acorn would give me ample opportunity to draw draw draw. It doesn't. It frustrates me. I fiddle with the brushes, I play with the code, it's way too easy to get distracted and put in my own little pet settings. I spend way more time tweaking rather than drawing.

Again, it's very frustrating, since making myself draw more was one of the reasons I wrote FlySketch (which eventually morphed into Acorn, a.k.a. FlySketch 2.0). Will it always be this way? I hope not. But for now, it's sketchbooks all the way.