Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Art of Waiting: a sketchbook approach

There are two things I've realised.

1.) There's no point in waiting until I have enough time to sketch. That time will never come. It's up to me to fit it into my days.

2.) There's no point in getting frustrated with my drawing skills or hoping they will miraculously improve. The only way to get better is to do.

So with those two points in mind combined with this post by Roz Stendahl (which gives some great tips about how to go about drawing people discreetly), I've tried to integrate sketching more seamlessly into my days.

A small pocket-sized book and a handful of pens always come with me, and even if I only have a fleeting moment, I pull out the sketchbook and draw something. I've been trying to take this approach for a while, but recently I've been more intentional about it, and it's slowly becoming second nature.

I've found the best time for a super-quick sketch is when I'm waiting. Waiting for a coffee to arrive, waiting for an appointment, waiting and watching my kids' structured activities - swimming, gymnastics.

And because one of the things I struggle with most is sketching fast (I love nothing more than spending an hour or two on one drawing, which is not in the least bit practical, and if I tell myself that this is the only way I can draw, then I'm sabotaging my chances of improving) and the other thing I struggle with is drawing people, I've decided to make these two things the focus of my regular sketching practice.

Already I feel some improvement in my approach: a lack of hesitation before beginning, more confidence in restating lines when they didn't come out right in the first place (instead of giving in to that feeling of defeat when it all goes horribly wrong).

I've been experimenting a little with media - nothing too messy. Just simple pen, sometimes colour. Maybe a waterbrush over soluble ink.

And it doesn't matter if it's not quite right. I just turn the page and start a new drawing. It's not meant for an art gallery!

One thing I've noticed is that I am definitely getting better at drawing the back of people's heads! Now to muster up the confidence to draw faces and people in profile more often. Yikes!

But I can tell you that by sketching during wait times I'm very slowly, but surely, clocking up more drawing hours.