Thursday, April 12, 2012

Drawing Practice

I'm not very good at drawing.  Yet.  And there's no shame in that, because I haven't ever had any training, and I don't practice.  Yet. 

I started off last year, gung-ho to learn how to draw.  I found Danny Gregory's The Creative License to be wonderfully inspiring, and checked out armloads of books about drawing from the library.  For a brief time, I sketched in my notebook in the evening, and had fun seeing what I could accomplish.  I liked many of the things I sketched by copying from the pages of the books I was reading, but I was invariably discouraged when I tried to draw from real life and, in my mind, failed miserably.

I've been participating in Dana Barbieri's eCourse, "Artfull Sketchbook," this month of April, and she has challenged us to spend time each day--at least fifteen minutes--drawing in our sketchbooks.  (She follows up each week with plenty of paint-y play, as well.) 

Being in her class, and being challenged to draw on a daily basis, sent me back to my sketchbook from the beginning of last year.  I was surprised to see how much I seemed to "get" the concept of a sketchbook back then.  I wasn't trying to keep an "art journal" with publication-worthy spreads; I truly used it as a playground to try out ideas, subjects, and techniques. 

I thought I would give you a peek at some of the pages from that sketchbook, before sharing some of the things I've done since Dana's class began.
I just feel like these pages really reflect someone trying to learn, and playing around with something new.  I want to bring some more of that spirit into what I am doing as part of Dana's class.

I have a file of pictures I have pulled from various magazines and catalogs to use for drawing inspiration, and I have been using these images for my recent drawing practices.
Don't bother trying to look too closely; they are really not good. 
Because of this mermaid's frightening eyes and mouth, the text on this page says, "Alas, poor Siren, there is no song sweet enough that you could sing to lure an unsuspecting sailor your way.  Better to remain silen, for if he hears your song but escapes your snare, then surely you must die."  Cheery, don't you think? 
I actually kind of liked this little rabbit, drawn from the cover of a Chinaberry catalog I filed last year around Easter.  I used it as a journal page for our Easter celebrations this year.

I tend to enjoy the more abstract, doodling kind of drawing, because I don't have to be hard on myself that it didn't turn out the way it's "supposed to."
I was inspired by Caatje's ribbon drawings to create some of my own.
I swiped this doodle straight from a video Dana shared with us of her own sketchbook.  Don't tell!

The "mark-making" is easy and fun--sort of like the "therapy" of Zentangles and doodling.  But I feel like I am trying to take the easy way out instead of challenging myself to get better at something that I clearly have yet to develop any talent in.  (Though when my husband saw me painting my little bunny picture, he called me "artistic" with a certain amount of surprise in his voice, and made my day!)

It's fun to try something and discover that you have a natural and easy gift for it.  But that's pretty unusual, too, I think.  I am hoping that with a little more consistency than I've shown in the past, I'll be able to put some practice into drawing, maybe even have an opportunity for some more formal education on the subject, and see some progress in my talent. 

I'm not expecting any miracles, but I would love to get "good enough" to pursue drawing as a pasttime and find satisfaction in the results.

A closing thought from Bill Brown:  "My sketchbook is the opposite of my job.  It's like a pocket-sized vacation."


Carin Winkelman said...

What do you mean, you can't draw well? Look at all the stuff you've done! Wonderful! I almost yelled out in surprise when I saw the ribbons and circles you did, how cool! And I love the quote in the end, that's how I feel about all my artsy stuff, even though it's not always pocket sized. ;-)

Adriann said...

Happy belated birthday! I like your sketches a lot, especially the earlier bunch. You've inspired me to keep practicing. Enjoy your weekend!

lee said...

Happy birthday I like your sketches, and practice practice is all it takes, keep going you have a talent

VivJM said...

Keep sketching, you're doing great!! And your bunny is super ;-) said...

What fun, these are great!
Love seeing all your sketches and drawings... thank you for sharing.
Practice, practice... practice.
It only gets better. :]

Bad Jones Rising said...

I really love your post. I like the blue patterns that you made. I also just realized you have a Bryce Wymer quote from Danny Gregory's "An Illustrated Life" ...I love Bryce's work. He does the most amazing sketchbook collections. Keep drawing, it heals the soul!

scrapwordsmom said...

I appreciate you sharing. I can't draw to save my life. It is one of the scariest things I try to do. Nothing ever comes out...I mean I have drawn...but too scared to show here.

You continue to inspire me!!!

Parabolic Muse said...

Andria, I completely applaud you and give you high-fives and cheers and four or five tequila shots

...wait a minute.

I got carried away.

Andria, it is awesome that you shared your progress, here. It is truly a hill to be climbed and a stream to be forded and a big, scraggly dead tree with black, pointy branches to be

...hold on.

I think sketching scares me.

But congrats to you for facing it! And I don't think these are bad at all! I know how it feels when I look at my own work, and believe me, we are always harder on ourselves. So, rock on. Keep with it and get to a place of peace with yourself that you are no longer scared.

Then let me know how to do it?