Kate Bingaman Burt Interview

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Kate Bingaman Burt, WeMake’s upcoming featured sketchXchange artist (Friday, August 10, 2012 at Fashion Buddha). We talked about a range of things, from Portland’s homeless population to the difference between an awesome student and a terrible student.

But I won’t bore you with that. Instead, here are snippets of our conversation that are sketchXchange related.

Just the hits:

Mike King said something along the lines of “I don’t draw unless somebody’s paying me.” Do you ever sketch, doodle or draw for your own enjoyment?

I wish I did. But it’s almost always for a project.

Do you ever draw things multiple times to get it right?

No. I never start my Daily Drawings over again. But my freelance stuff—if I’m messing up something that people are paying for, I’ll start over again.

I just don’t do pencil. I just really like the way pen works.


What’s your medium of choice. I got that you like pens, but are you a Moleskine fanatic? Do you just draw on napkins at the bar? Do you draw on anything and everything?

I do a lot of my Madewell on tracing paper. If I’m not doing Daily Drawings, I’d probably do most of my stuff on tracing paper. All my Daily Drawings have an end game of Maybe Someone Wants to Purchase Them, so I have a consistent format of a single image on nice 8″ x 10″ paper. But whenever that’s not a factor, I do most of my drawings on tracing paper.


I was thinking about talking about and bring examples of some of my favorite people who keep really good sketchbooks. There’s an artist named Candy Jernigan that I was really influenced by. She was actually married to Philip Glass in the 1980s and then she past away and she kept these amazing sketch books. They weren’t just drawings! They were full of trash and bits of papers—those are my ideal sketchbooks, my aspiration sketchbooks.

The ones that are overflowing…

Overflowing with bits of debris and found objects, and then I would probably add drawings to the things. But I definitely see more of a collage of bits and pieces and taking the page to make a composition out of lots of different elements.

But I also feel like I’m not that strong of a drawer. I do think I can arrange things very well. So I feel like if I were to do a sketchbook, I would do that.


I don’t throw away any of my drawings, so—

Wait, you don’t ever toss anything?

It’s not that often. I haven’t tossed anything in a really long time. I don’t know why I don’t—this is all scanned! Why do I need to keep all this? There are digital files. I have all of this stuff, I could just throw it away.

You scan every drawing?


That’s not obsessive at all.

I go back and forth between not giving a shit about keeping a paper trail or having an archive and going to the extreme of [creepy hoarder voice] I can’t throw anything away. It’s a weird back-and-forth.


What do you enjoy drawing. Like, really like.

…Baby Bok Choy. This is fun. I went to Whole Foods and I really like drawing from life. So I bought a bunch of vegetables and all day on Monday I was like, “I’m gonna draw vegetables bla bla bla. This is so much fun!

What’s interesting to me is that you’ve reduced these vegetables to their simplest forms, but you didn’t actually sketch them a billion times and do a process of reduction…

I took a couple drawing classes in undergrad. The only thing I enjoyed about the drawing classes was the contour line work and the blind contour stuff.

I love that shit.

I had a terrible, terrible drawing instructor. He was drunk all the time. I just took that class because I had to—I was really more into ceramics and then I did graphic design—I just didn’t get the connection that I liked drawing at all, so I tried to cut corners all the time.  [Read Bingaman Burt’s adendum] But the one thing I loved was contour line drawing.

And then I stopped doing it for several years until I started doing my credit card statements in 2004. Which has been awesome.

And you’re a natural…

— fin —


Read this in-depth, amazing, wonderful interview from The Great Discontent.

Watch this Bingaman Burt presentation at CreativeMornings/PDX. It’s an excellent primer.

By Michael Buchino
Published August 6, 2012
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