Fly or Flow?

Apple sketch

Did I mention my resolution for this year was to Simplify?

My attempts haven’t quite gone as expected these past few weeks as I have more commitments rather than less.  So I’ve been asking myself: “Is it better to spend a few good hours on a project, seeking flow?  Or is a quick sprint better for productivity?”

I’m currently practicing quick sprints, setting my timer so I jump from one activity to another, and rushing to finish before the buzzer.  I also gave myself permission to complete even the simplest sketches over several consecutive days, rather than putting them off because I have a heap of other priorities.  I’m not sure this was the best strategy as a drawing that should take 30 minutes is dragging on.  But I’m drawing daily, and that’s a good (re)start.

Footnote ~ I can recommend this apple drawing tutorial which I found on the Will Kemp Art School website; it’s part 2 of 3.  Part 1 explains the theory of shadows, and part 3 is an acrylic painting tutorial.

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Skeletons in the Snow

Troutbeck in snow

This was the view from our Cumbrian cottage last week; no two days of weather were alike.  I loved the dark shapes of the skeletal trees against the snow-covered hills, and attempted to simplify their shapes with a retractable pencil in my pocket sketchbook.

WordPress prompt: Simplify

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A Backward’s Glance (2)

Some more things I learned this year:

If you don’t book them, they won’t happen – a 2016 retrospective, and a 2017 wish list.

But a year is full of surprises – lessons through logo design: series round-up.

…especially when it comes to drawing – habitual change.

If you don’t know where you’re heading, draw yourself a map – how would you learn to draw?

I’m waiting for 2018 to reveal itself before I make any major commitments.  However, I know who to ask if I get stuck.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.

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A Backward’s Glance (1)

Some things I learned this year:

The smallest activity can make the biggest impact – the life-changing magic of tidying your smalls.

There’s more than one way to draw a drawing – one viewpoint, two outcomes.

The hardest challenges can turn out to be the most rewarding – learning through logo design (lesson 1 of 5).

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas.

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Dusted and Done

…and with a few waves of the hand the offending sketch had gone.  Magic!

Charcoal is a wonderful medium for learning to draw: it’s relatively inexpensive; you don’t have to start with a blank white page; you can draw with both charcoal and erasers; and willow charcoal can be easily wiped away.  You and your work area will get dusty, but that’s half the fun.  I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to appreciate it.

If you’re beyond outlines and ready to tackle light and shadow I can recommend Clara Lieu’s YouTube series on drawing a charcoal portrait to get you started, no matter your subject; read my review here.

If my internet connection hadn’t failed on both the evening I finished and the following morning, I would have left my own charcoal still-life alone.  The unusual disruption gave me pause to crit (and continue) my drawing for the Art Prof’s October Art Dare: Superstition, by adding my hand.


I love the tradition of superstitions, and “touch wood” is one my family often uses to repel fate or bad luck.  There are a couple of clues to this hidden in my composition; can you spot them?  Answers on a postcard…

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