Point of Interest

I was going to continue my Daily Sketch series with a list of reasons on why it’s worth developing a regular drawing habit.  Will one do?

I imagine there comes a point when you don’t have to mentally prepare yourself as the discomfort no longer comes from the anticipation but from the lack of practice.

Copper Harris – Habit Forming

Catch-up on my previous Daily Sketch posts:

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The Daily Sketch (3)

Developing a regular drawing habit has taught me a few things.  For one, I was under the illusion that my drawing ability was more advanced than it actually is.  Not particularly surprising as, over the years, I’ve practiced drawing sporadically.  I’ve also become so comfortable with life-drawing I find other subjects difficult.  Until recently, I didn’t even know how to begin a drawing.  There was no set process, I just played about making the odd mark, then I was on my way.  Each drawing just seemed to evolve.

As I’m now re-learning to draw, I’m also learning to accept I won’t always like what appears on the page in front of me.  If you’ve noticed a gap between where you currently are, and where you think you should be, here are some suggestions to reframe your view…

Focus on the tactile quality of your drawing medium.  If you’re feeling apprehensive about the outcome of a sketch, concentrate on what it feels like to handle your choice of medium, or make marks on your paper, instead.

Don’t judge your drawings; look at them with an objective eye.  Muse over what you’re learning (from the medium, your technique, the subject…) and decide how you want to approach your next drawing.  What would you repeat or do differently?

If you’re anxious about drawing, either complete it as early as you can, or promise yourself a treat when you’re done.

Add a smiley face to your calendar after every drawing session.  You turned up to the page, and that’s just as important as the accuracy of the lines you just drew.  There are many ways to record your progress; I chose smiley faces, and they’ve helped me draw daily for a whole month!

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The Daily Sketch (2)

Regardless of your drawing experience or ability, daily drawing is an undemanding way to build creative confidence and develop muscle memory.  Last week I shared three tips that helped me to begin drawing daily.  If the blank white page leaves you with stage fright, try a different approach with these three suggestions:

Decide what you want to achieve with each drawing.  Trying to capture everything in one drawing might leave you feeling overwhelmed.  So focus on one aspect of your subject, or just use it as a means to explore your media.

Plan your drawing before you begin.  Are you going to do a detailed study of a small area or attempt the full caboodle?  The negative space around or between objects can be just as interesting as the subject itself.  And, if your drawing is quite detailed you may prefer to…

Complete your drawings over several sessions.  Don’t feel you have to attempt a new one every day.  Even simple sketches can be built up over several sessions.  Giving yourself and your drawings breathing space lets you reflect on your progress, and helps you minimise overwork.

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The Daily Sketch (1)

I’m getting used to my new daily drawing habit, with 17 consecutive days under my belt so far.  As the first few days are still fresh in my mind I’ll admit it wasn’t easy to start my daily sketchbook appointment.  So, if you’re contemplating daily drawing, but aren’t sure you’ll keep it going, here are a few suggestions to help you over the first few hurdles:

*Choose a simple subject that you’d be happy to keep drawing over several days.  I started with a mini still-life of golden yellow plums on a chocolate brown saucer.

*Keep the subject small so you can move it if you need to.  As my plums were on a saucer, I could pop them in the fridge overnight, and set them up when I was ready to draw.

*Use a media you’re comfortable with for your first piece.  I started with a simple collage and drew over the top, so I could explore colour and line in a fun way.

Look out for a few more tips next week!

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Logo Logic: Pathfinder

I won!  I actually won!  (Woo hoo!)

So, what now?  My long wait is over and I’m no longer frozen to the spot.  But I’m still feeling the cold through my feet.  It’s at this point I realise I’m going in the right direction, but I’m approaching it in the wrong way.  I make small, progressive steps, then pause to look around me, even looking backwards.  I’m hesitating about the next step, unsure of when to move.  I feel off-balance, unsteady, like I need some additional support.  Can I do this?  Turning back feels like a choice, but that would only get me back to the start, and all those previous steps wouldn’t count.

My path is made of stepping stones.  They have natural pauses and when you go too slowly you lose your flow.  If you hesitate at the wrong moment, you stumble into the water, and your feet get cold and wet.

It’s far better to take quick, successive steps.  That way you build momentum, and your sure-footedness increases with every stride.

Lesson 4: Hesitate on a path of stepping stones and you risk losing your balance.  Keep a smooth, steady pace until you reach the other side, and only then pause for breath, reflect back and prepare for the next one.

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