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1.02 What is Automatic Drawing?

I practice a specific methodology of automatic drawing called iterative automatism and iconomancy.

That’s a mouthful to say, isn’t it?! I assure you it is a lot more approachable when broken down word-by-word. This divination practice involves two modes: the creation and interpretation of images. However it is not a linear two-step process, and that is where the ​iteration​ concept comes in.
Let’s start by examining the creation aspect, which is where the drawings begin. I utilize the techniqueof​surrealistautomatism,​ otherwiseknownas​automaticdrawing.​ Thisisatechnique common to the surrealist art and philosophy movement, which seeks to suppress the conscious mind and let the unconscious and supra/superconscious levels of awareness come through. It involves playing with “random” movement and foregoing control of the outcome of the drawing.


The second aspect of the drawings is interpretation. Conjuring meaning and messages from symbols and icons is known as ​iconomancy​. It is closely related to the concept of ​iconography​, or the study and interpretation of symbols and images in art.


As I mentioned, the illustrations I produce are not simply a drawing followed by an interpretation. There is constant feedback going between the two, as lines form into shapes, shapes form into symbols, and symbols form into more complex representations. Throughout the drawing I toggle between automatic drawing, observation, and interpretation. This iterative process intertwines intuition and analysis. I believe our collective and individual destiny is to integrate these two aspects of our minds – the logical and intuitive. This is the basis of becoming whole conscious humans, and is an integral concept in the philosophy of the Great Age in which ​mythos​ and logos​ unite. It is something I am very passionate to practice and share with others.


So to summarize, ​automatism​ refers to the intuitive creation mode, ​iconomancy​ to the divinatory interpretation mode, and the ​iterative​ label to the cyclical relationship between the two. Thispracticehasparallelsinotherformsofdivinationsuchas​geomancy,​ inwhichlinesor markings on the ground are interpreted, or from patterns formed from thrown objects. This is often done with a recursive/iterative algorithm utilizing a numerological system for mapping meaning. IAI is less systematic, more heavily leveraging the artistic and intuitive abilities of the drawer.

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