Let’s get 2011 started with some excitement and fun.
You won’t believe how easy it can be to get regular art practice if you just carry and use a sketchbook. It’s cheap and easy to do, and don’t worry – you don’t have to show anybody what you draw. One of the delights of a sketchbook is that it can be as private as you want it to be.
Some of you will have had a lot of previous experience with a sketchbook and some of you will be trying this for the first time. You can use this lesson (as well as all the lessons) as motivation by adjusting them to make a challenge that is right for you.
You need almost nothing for supplies. You already have what you need to start skill building and having fun with your art. Any paper will do. Add to that any pencil or pen and you’re ready. Most of us have these things with us when we go out anyhow. The supplies don’t need to come from an art store or to be special in any way.
You will find the materials that work best for you only by getting out there and drawing. The important thing is to just do it. Never let the lack of a specific material be an excuse. A sketchbook is nice, but you don’t need one. Draw on the back of a receipt. Napkins have their place in the history of art and design because people have recorded ideas on them so often (however, if you plan ahead, you can have a firmer surface). You can grab a regular piece of paper, fold it, and stick it in your pocket or you can carry a few index cards.
My preference is to use a ball point pen on unlined paper in a small spiral bound sketchbook. Why the spiral binding? If a page is terrible (I don’t decide this at the moment of drawing), it can be torn out and tossed without leaving any indication that it ever existed. If the page turns out great, you can tear it out, trim the edges, and frame it.
Why the pen? I want to be able to write as well as draw, and I don’t want to erase because then I would start “fixing” things and my sketchbook isn’t the place for perfection – it’s the place to explore pictorial ideas, study things, bond with nature through drawing, and
prevent boredom if I’m stuck somewhere (there is always something to draw). If I make too much of a mess of things, I just begin on another page.
How to get started with this drawing habit Have fun with your sketchbook; if you don’t make it fun, you probably won’t stick with it. Draw what interests you. Get curious about how it looks and how to make marks on a piece of paper express what you are seeing. Don’t judge what you do –you can try to make it “good”, but don’t judge whether or not it is while you are working on it. Look and respond to what you are looking at by moving your pen on the paper.
You will learn so many things through this practice.
There will be many lessons in the future about different aspects of working with a sketchbook. This week’s lesson focuses on getting started. The “assignment” is to start drawing in your sketchbook.
Can you make a New Year’s goal to keep a sketchbook and to draw in it once a week? It doesn’t have to take much time out of a busy schedule. You can draw while watching the news. You can draw in the strangest places and at the oddest times. You can also set aside time to do this just because it might make you a happier and more fulfilled person!
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