I had a car accident, that changed my life, because I couldn’t drive, and I had been making a long commute to work. I decided to go back to school, where I studied biology. My professors had an inordinate respect for drawing (based on my previous experience) and frequently assigned drawing in lab. I don’t notice as much about what I see if I’m not drawing.
I had artist’s block for more than a decade. Why, I’m not sure. In the process of studying art, I got the idea that drawing didn’t matter, and that drawing with pencil especially didn’t matter. I was tired of trying to do everything except that one thing. So I became a knitter, and I knitted very small, intricate patterns. I found the repetitious nature of knitting soothing, and much better than making nothing, but I couldn’t bring myself to call myself an artist.
My first drawing (in a long time) was of a praying mantis. I’d always drawn people, and, with their enormous eyes, long limbs, and flexible necks, mantises are similarly expressive and gestural. I was at a cave photography convention in southwest France, and my very favorite comment on my drawing was “what kind of a person would draw something like that?”