Collage, graphite and gouache on paper.
I’d usually rush through a sketch like this, and scribble it down. For a change I took a little longer to apply the line and tone, pausing to assess what it needed, and refusing to judge my finished sketch. Daily Drawing Take Two.
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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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…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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Over the last few days I’ve been dabbling with the same courgette drawing, rather than creating several new ones, so I know I’m ready for a new topic. There isn’t much of October left, but I’m currently brainstorming ideas for this month’s Art Prof Art Dare: Superstition (and have other project ideas awaiting my attention, too).
I’m not sure if my own superstitions would make sense to anyone else, but they’re not supposed to be rational; they’re a kind of behavioural guide. I, for example, am superstitious that if I miss a day’s drawing I’ll end up back at square one. Not that adding bits to the same courgette drawing over several days constitutes actual drawing.
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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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