Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exploring Memory by Hazel Mitchell

Lately I've been actively working on remembering my childhood. My main motivation for this (as my career in children's illustrations goes along and I find myself illustrating characters in different situations) is I that find myself thinking - 'what would I have done or felt in that scenario?'

I've never been a diarist. And especially not as a child. Life for me was somewhat topsy turvy and I never felt the need to write it down! When I learned to draw and record what I saw ... that was a kind of diary. But so few of those drawings remain. The memories, the places, the people, I am sure they were all there in the lines and marks I made. Just as they are now ... when I look at a drawing in a sketch pad it brings back  what I was thinking or feeling and hearing and smelling. It's like a little memory capsule.


Then I read Linda Barry's books 'Picture This ' and 'What it is'. Both a kind of stream of consciousness laid down in what at first seems a random way, and then, you begin to see into Lynda's mind. In the repetition of the characters, the marks, the train of thought. I was hooked!


Writer's, of course, often use exercises to jog memories, to reconnect with childhood thoughts and feelings. But, as I rooted around on line to find similar ways of jogging the mind, I found not so many ideas for illustrators.


I began my own experiment and I call it 'Look Back in Candour'. It's more like 'snapshots' than a diary, and sometimes the snapshots lead me somewhere I wasn't expecting to go. At times the memories are hard to recall, occasionally sad, but more often happy. There is so much hidden there, in my own story, it's like dipping into a fathomless reservoir. And it's bringing new significance to my other projects. Alongside the drawings, I have begun to make some abstract notes to noodle into my 'rememberings' so I don't forget again.

And the best thing? I am finding there are story ideas in there a-plenty!

You can find it online at https://lookbackincandour.wordpress.com/.


Toodles
Hazel
http://hazelmitchell.com

10 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you're exploring all of this. You are jogging my memory, too!

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    1. Thanks Lisa ... I am glad! We all need to explore the child that we were.

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  2. Your sketches and art are amazing. I felt so much emotion pouring off the page as I looked at this blog, especially the sweet toddler clinging to her daddy's leg. Tears in the eyes. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you so much ... believe me I cry too!

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  3. Excellent post! It is like a stream of consciousness illustrator's morgue.

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    1. Thanks Russ ... sometimes it's more like vomiting ...

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  4. How lucky you are to be able to capture memories in pictures. As a writer, I see the memories in my mind. They are incredibly clear and vivid with emotions attached but, i can't draw what my mind's eye sees so I'm left with having to paint the picture with words. I was planning to blog about just this in the next day or two. I once did a fantastic childhood memory exercise as part of a writing course - we literally mapped out our childhood. We drew a map of where we lived as children and then made notes and sketches of memory all over the map....wonderful story fodder. (Check out my blog in the days to come ;-)

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    1. Sounds great Kerry! I have done drawn map exercises too ... so now YOU have given me an idea also. I look forward to seeing your post. Hazel.

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