Friday, September 21, 2012

Drawing Practice

I always used to think that I couldn't draw, although I always wished that I could.  One day, about four years ago, I thought to myself, "I'm just going to try drawing something and I'm not going to worry about whether I can actually draw or not."  My first drawings were rather awkward, but they weren't as bad as I thought they would have been.   I began to think that maybe I could draw after all...

EDM #1: A shoe.  This is probably one of my better drawings.  It's a drawing of one of my hiking boots, and my boot actually looks exactly like that, except that the drawing turned out a bit short.  My feet really aren't that small!

EDM #2: A lamp.  This one wouldn't be that bad except that for some reason whenever I draw a lamp I draw the shade too small.  I drew another lamp after this one and the same thing happened.  No idea why...

EDM #3: A purse, wallet, or bag.  Flat, dark objects with few distinguishing characteristics are way harder to draw than you would think.

I've been practicing drawing off and on ever since.  I haven't taken any classes in it.  I haven't read any books on how to draw.  I've just done it.  I just sit down with my pen and my sketchbook and try to put down the lines just as I see them, without being influenced by what I think a pen or a tree should look like.  And, surprisingly, it's actually not that hard...  The more I draw, the better I get at it.  Although my drawings will never be perfect, I am delighted to discover that I can draw.  And now, to practice and improve my drawing skills even more, I've recently begun working through Danny Gregory's Everyday Matters (EDM) Challenges, after I saw Daisy Yellow begin exploring the challenges earlier this year.

EDM #4: Your mug or cup.  This drawing doesn't look that bad, but it actually looks nothing at all like what my mug really looks like.  I'm not sure what went wrong... It's just one of those deceptively simply shapes that are unexpectedly difficult to draw.

EDM #5: Your bed.  I love this drawing.  I think it is one of my favourites.  And in case you were wondering, I do make my bed every day, but often it doesn't get done until rather late because my cat usually sleeps on my bed all morning.  That dark lump in the drawing is her, by the way.  I made sure to draw in her ears poking up so you could tell that it was actually a cat and not just a random dark lump.

EDM #6: A favourite well-loved object.  The object I chose was a small bird ornament that I've always had sitting around.  I've actually tried drawing it before, but my earlier drawing was awful!  This one is way better.

EDM #7: A bottle, jar, or tin from the kitchen.  After my difficulties with my mug, I thought the jar would be just as bad.  But it actually was a quick, simple drawing that turned out very well.

These are my first 3 sets of pages, which include the first 10 drawing challenges.  Some of the drawings are good, while others... not so much.  But that's okay, and I'm sharing all of my drawings, both the good and the bad, to encourage you to try drawing as well.  Because I bet that you, like me, can actually draw better that you think you can, once you let go of all your old ideas about whether you can or can't draw.

EDM #8: Your watch or other piece of jewellery.  This drawing didn't turn out that great.  The watch face looks too small.

EDM #9: A bit of "organized chaos."  This was a fun drawing.  I chose to draw the surface of my desk as it looks like during the day, when I'm right in the middle of a million different projects.  It's not usually this messy, though!  I always clean off the surface of my desk at the end of every day.

EDM #10: Your hand.  Is it just me, or does my hand look seriously creepy in this drawing?  I know my hands are long and narrow and kind of bony, but they're not really this creepy-looking in real life, trust me!  I think I need to practice drawing hands some more.

As I continue with the challenges, I think that I will start using my watercolour pencils to add colour to my drawings.  But for these first drawings I just wanted to focus on the drawing itself.  I've been using my Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens (in fine and super-fine) for all of these drawings so far.  I really love those pens for drawing.  They're simple and comfortable to use, come in many nib sizes, and have waterproof ink.  They're also great for writing if you want to add some quick notes to your sketch.

Do you draw?  Do you think that you can't draw?  If so, do you think that you ever might give drawing a try anyway?

13 comments:

  1. An excellent idea, especially since the hermitage (guest casita) in which I am staying for a month has a giant newsprint pad of blank papers and a cup holding pencils. This place is perfect for the practice of drawing.

    Although I do not consider myself an artist, there was a time when I did a study of similar items, such as my shoe or a dried plant or house object. I was amazed to see how quickly I could convey a sense of the object on paper. Sometimes I gave myself as few as five minutes, then added my daily journal text along side and around the object. I felt great freedom with adding a drawn object to my unlined pages bound journal.

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    1. This would be a fun project to do while travelling. All you need is some paper and a pen, and you could just pick random objects in your environment to sketch.

      I generally try not to take too long to do these drawings. Five minutes would probably be about average for many of my drawings as well. Like you, I have also been amazed at how simple it can be to create a likeness of an object on paper - maybe not perfect, but good enough to convey its basic shape and form. That's enough to make me happy with my drawing skills.

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  2. Keep it up- you're doing great. The old saying practice makes perfect is true. The longer you draw the more risks you'll take- you 'll find yourself becoming more and more creative and developing your own particular style.

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    1. Practice does indeed help! And I have noticed as well with other art projects that I have taken on, the more I do them, the more my own personal style begins to appear.

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  3. In my wildest dreams, I don't think I could draw like that. The fact that you didn't think you could do so either actually gives me some hope.

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    1. Give drawing a try, Note Booker! I once thought exactly the same as you. Just start small and keep practicing and who knows - maybe you can draw better than you think you can too.

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    2. My thoughts exactly. There may be hope for me after all!

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  4. One thing that's hard to do is look at your own drawings with the delight that a stranger can feel.

    If you are familiar with cartoonist Kate Beaton, her style is very much "simple line and pen". Her drawings aren't super realistic, but they're delightful. If you can find something that someone else drew, which you love despite its flaws or mistakes, then I encourage you to look at your own drawings with those same eyes.

    Because I promise you, to this stranger, every one of the things you drew was delightful.

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    1. Thank you very much, Stephan! It is hard to look at our drawings as a stranger might. I think that often we judge our own drawings too harshly, when really they aren't all that bad after all - and sometimes we need someone's else viewpoint to let us know that.

      I checked out some of Kate Beaton's cartoons, and I see what mean about them. They are not "perfect" drawings, but they are very lively and dynamic nevertheless.

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  5. Nice work, Heather. My own drawing is for personal amusement only, and slightly up from finger painting and aimless doodling. On a very good day, I'll draw a caricature that gets a highlight or shading just right, and where the overall effect suggests something---a happy-puppy naivete, sinister intent, regal disdain, etc. It's accident, though, not intentional, and definitely untrained.

    I think those "Drawing Made Easy" types of TV shows offer good tips. Jack/Ohio

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    1. Thanks, Jack! My own drawings sometimes have that accidental nature as well - sometimes a drawing just turns out way better than I thought it would, even though it didn't seem like I was doing anything differently than before, and other times... not so much. I think regular practice helps to maintain consistency, but that's something I'm still working on.

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  6. Oh my gosh, our stories are so similar! ( I just came across this post... sorry to jump in so late). My whole blog is essentially the response to the thought, Hmmm... maybe I should stop saying I can't draw and just draw. I'm happy that you made your discovery a few decades earlier than I did! :-) But it's never too late. Please see this post: http://www.tina-koyama.blogspot.com/p/whats-this-blog-about.html

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I will definitely agree with you that it's never too late - but I am also glad that I discovered drawing when I did. It just amazes me to think that I actually can draw, and that I've had this skill all along, if only I had taken the time to give it a try. Thanks for the link as well.

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