Am I A COVID Victim?

A follower of my blog recently wrote to wish me a Merry Christmas, which was very nice of them to do.  But included was this question: “Have you been a victim of COVID?”  The question was asked because they’d noticed that I hadn’t posted on the blog or on Instagram for quite a while.

My first answer was simply “no,” but suddenly I felt guilty for not thinking about what some might think if I stopped posting.  And so, my second response idea was to explain that I just hadn’t been sketching much and thus had nothing to post.

Then it occurred to me to reflect on the question itself.  I’ve considered myself one of the lucky ones during the COVID pandemic.  I’m retired so staying home isn’t a heavy burden.  My wife and daughter are home with me so I don’t even have the angst of not seeing my family through the holidays.

But upon reflection, like so many people, I am a victim of COVID, not as someone who got the virus but in other ways.  For instance, I was supposed to have knee surgery back in September.  It was cancelled as Quebec hospitals cancelled all “elective” surgeries to free up staff to deal with COVID victims.  This has relegated me to the limp around the house crowd and limited my ability to go for long walks, something I was doing during the early phases of the pandemic.

But maybe the biggest impact COVID has had on me is my sketching, something I used to do every day and now do almost never.  I tried drawing food, kitchen utensils, and sofas.  I just don’t like it.  For me, sketching is about going out, plunking myself down on a tripod stool, and drawing something.  Take that away from me and I simply stopped sketching.  I’m sure I’ll get back to it once I can go out again but until then, I’m really having a hard time being interested.  In that sense, I am a COVID victim.  I suspect most people have simliar “victim” stories.

That’s not to say that I’m not doing well or that I’m unhappy.  I’ve taken to playing my guitar again.  I bought a ukulele.  I’m getting in touch with music again.  It’s all good.  I hope others are responding to these disruptions in their life in similar ways.  I hope all of you have a happy holiday season in spite of circumstances.  I apologize for not making a statement about why I wasn’t posting before.  I know there are at least three of you who follow my stuff and I should have thought about the potential for misreading my lack of presence.  We’ve all got to be like the two kids in my sketch.  We’ve got to keep that ball rolling regardless of the ups and down of the terrain.

Book Review: Adebanji Alede’s Addictive

Here’s an interesting fact.  One in five Africans are Nigerian.  Nigeria is a big country. Its most lucrative export is oil, but they’ve exported something even better in the creative dynamo called Adebanji Alede.

Adebanji says he’s addicted to the creation of art.  He is fond of oil painting on location and loves sketching people on the streets and in trains.  He’s had a YouTube channel for many years where he presents his art and artistic ideas as well as energetic attempts to motivate others to be as addicted as he is to sketching.

Early in 2020 he published a book titled The Addictive Sketcher which is a superb text for anyone wanting to learn how to draw quickly and in a loose, but accurate style.  I’ve read it twice so far and highly recommend it.

This month he’s followed up with a second book titled Addictive.  This isn’t a traditional how-to book; it’s better.  Addictive is 275 pages (8.5″ x 8.5″) of Adebanji’s blood, sweat, and tears.  It’s the entire contents of his over-stuffed sketchbooks.  What makes it so useful, at least to me, is that he works with several mediums (ballpoint, pencil, fineliners, oil pencils) and adds color and shading using a small set of Tombow markers.  Studying the gazillion sketches in this book is a treat.

In true Adebanji style, though, that wasn’t enough.  He’s done a series of a dozen or more videos associated with the book where he takes an example from it and recreates it right before your eyes, discussing the order of events as well as the whys and wherefores of his creations.  So, if you’re even slightly interested in gaining the ability to draw people in the wild, you need this book.  Here’s some examples from his book.  Each of the 275 pages is like these.