When only hand drawn will do

Fjord Family

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Why does pencil on paper make a deeper connection?

This Easter, I was reminded just how much we’ve come to rely on the digital services at our fingertips and how much we’re missing if we’re not creating real things too.

What prompted this realisation was a set of clues my Mum drew for our two year old son and his cousin to help them find easter eggs she’d hidden in the garden.

Long after the original chocolate treats had been found and consumed, Remy still ran around with these little drawings, telling us all that these were his treasures. How right he was.

We’ve kept them, as they not only remind us of the day Remy went on his first easter egg hunt, but how much more fun it was to search for the location of the hidden eggs using pictures that Mum had sketched.

What gives these little artifacts value is the intention with which they were created. That Mum spent time drawing them using crayons and cut out pieces of paper and with her own hand is what makes them really wonderful.

We had a similar experience in Australia as we set off out of town to a wedding. Although the roads are few and the chances of getting lost pretty slim, Lee’s Mum had drawn us a map to make sure we knew the way.

The map was not to any perceivable scale, but she’d included little points of interest on the way, so that we would know we were on course. Again we delighted in the effort that had gone into making this map and only regret that in the subsequent celebrations, we lost it.

Watching the documentary ‘Cracked Actor’ this weekend as part of the BBC’s fantastic Bowie celebrations I saw that he also valued the power of the handwritten as a way to innovate around his lyric writing. The cut-up song lyrics technique, although not uniquely his, was hands on as well as intellectual and led to some amazing creations.

It’s also true that many novelists handwrite their manuscripts, claiming that pencil or pen on paper is the only true conduit for their creative thoughts.

Harking back to a pre-digital era of craftsmanship seems to be making an appearance in current app and website UIs, eg Goop, and Expereal as well as in an ongoing resurgence in the desire to embrace such crafts as knitting, sewing and baking.

It seems that despite the digitalisation of everything, making things with our hands, not just out of pixels is still a fundamental human need.

Image courtesy of thenakedsnail


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