For one painting I remember, it took many hours (over weeks) of color studies because I knew after thinking about the subject for weeks before that (and really thinking about the nature of the animal and the nature of the perceptions of that animal) – that for this, the right color and technique for applying that color would tell everything I wanted to tell. Once I applied the paint it all happened very quickly and there was no pre-sketch needed.
Sometimes I make 5 sketches and then a carefully measured pre-sketch on the final paper which can take 3 or 4 half-hour-periods of sketching and looking – to get where I want to go. If the objective is to fill a commission – that takes an entirely different focus (for me at least) where I end up thinking quite a bit about the client in relation to the subject or the technique.
It’s critical to keep growing and learning as part of painting – to keep listening. And for me so much is about drawing well – when confidence comes from that – it changes everything.
This means spending time just plain old drawing. So how much time does it take? It’s a useful question to think about. Sometimes things getting in the way can be adjusted once you see them clearly.
I leave you with well wishes and the first web-published photo of a sketch of mine, the angry birds (2008):
Bring a mini-pan (5-6 pans can be crammed into a mini-altoid tin) and a waterbrush (or real brush, often you can find a glass of water to use); you may have time for a painting to dry. Most often I draw instead and use Twsbi (nibs: M and 1.1 mm) and EF pilot fountain pens (inks: sunset noodlers, walnut brown, poppy red diamine) or retractable mechanical pencil (Faber-Castell) in a Leuchtturm notebook. I use the pocket size and next size up. Since I journal and draw for many pages, and travel-paint less frequently – thinner paper works best and it’s lightest. The 12-pan mini was a gift and found on Amazon I believe.
Art offers a compassionate break from pressures in life. Anyone can create and experience art and find relief. When folks say, I can’t draw, I think anyone who can draw supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, can definitely draw.
If we draw an apple while standing under the Sistine then we don’t even get a look. If we draw it in an average city in America, that may be the only drawing for a mile and you the only person who drew one for two miles. It’s a simple truth of circumstance.
If you grow up walking by block-long buildings covered in sculptures, you have a different experience of the value of art. Seeing thousands come from around the world to see art which took (and still takes) enormous resources to provide – it’s a radically different experience than many of us in America had the great fortune of knowing.
Still, even artists abroad can feel fear about drawing in public. Liron Yanconsky offers a great little talk on how our fear can vanish. When he started painting in public, naturally, there was a lot of fear and this vanished after ~6 times. How wise of him to notice, ah there is fear AND I will kindly and carefully still make a step forward and just see. And then to be rewarded with the fear vanishing and with growing in what he can feel free to do with art. We can ask, am I not doing drawing in public only because of fear? And can we kindly work with that? Noticing it and still moving on to draw?
Also, I want to mention The Painting Experience Podcast where the notion of process vs. product is discussed. The idea is that focus on process leaves room for exploring, letting the art be an extension of what is real in that moment for you (a listening of sorts). And the growth potential and learning potential in process-focused art is different than frozen food formula forcing out a particular outcome. Art as a kind of manufacturing vs as a kind of way of being with life. Not to forget, these two experiences exists together on a spectrum, not only one without the other, etc. Noticing that we can steer the boat in one direction or another, right?
Kindly and compassionately noticing what you are experiencing right now can be so empowering! Hooray for the many great gifts of Mindfulness practice/teachings – a great tool to add to your art tool chest.
Unroll the large watercolor paper roll onto a measured space, that you could cut the paper on (one that can be nicked with the utility knife). If you have a long work table ~41″ wide and your paper roll is 51″ wide, you can easily use this table.
Unroll it (if it came in a box, take it out of the box first then unroll it; don’t try unrolling it from the box, you will regret this, the paper will bend -oiy trust me).
Weight it flat on all four corners.
Measure and mark the size sheets you want.
Paint on the inside side of the roll (make a note on this side to say that).
Spray with water, the area you plan to cut.
Let it dry.
When it no longer wants to roll back up, it’s ready.
Cut with utility knife.
Sometimes you can store large paper in large flat boxes that came, for example from buying large flat sheets of paper, mat-board, or drawing boards online. You can also buy archival storage boxes and bags.
I want to give a huge thank you to the folks behind the SenshiStock image database for providing images of women that are intelligent and don’t degrade us. The other two popular databases (QuickPoses and Line of Action) seriously need to remove the images of women disfigured by breast implant surgery and acting in ways that make any woman’s self-esteem start to slip away and certainly degrade any male’s idea of women.
Using the SenshiStock images I can practice drawing and keep my self-esteem in-tact – who knew? I bought their excellent book too. What draw a woman reading a book? Huh? Do they do that? Way to go folks – I’m so proud of you!
Huge thank you to Proko for kindly and thoroughly delivering a system of how-to draw the figure. It works like Latin – using the system of conjugations you can translate virtually any image into a drawing. Methods that first feel like: whittle your pencil into a twig like a perfect maniac, then hold your pencil upside down while standing on your head and clapping and it should all come out alright – trust him. It’s agonizing to start over holding the pencil, to take his kind and thoughtful method re: making a mistake? Don’t just sit there – look into it, redo the drawing, get your horizontal and vertical finder lines out on the page (but they are uglying my drawing…whimper…) and then seeing oh yes I see the elbow and chin aren’t lining up right, etc. It’s a humiliating process and I see why the only ones left drawing are the ones who for some reason can’t stop. Wasn’t it Michelangelo who said it wouldn’t be so beautiful if you knew all the work that went into it.
I plan on maintaining a simple small online portfolio. You can just google Instagram, my name and “artist” and find me there: https://www.instagram.com/elizabethway8/
Figure drawing from imagination is very freeing and my characters are making me laugh – its tricky to not polish the work, just focusing instead on volume, variation in points of view, actions, foreshortening, using the core teaching ideas, and always drawing building blocks – this is an empowering technique.
Using Wunderlist I’m clicking away at all the sub tasks, staying focused and planning. It’s also great to have the list of what you’ve accomplished to look at when you feel overwhelmed.
Funny my last post was re: numbers. I just counted I’ve drawn ~250 figures in the past two weeks inspired by Alphonso Dunn – master drawer and master teacher. His teaching via YouTube is extremely dense ( I have to pause, draw, think, rewind, rewind again, and again). It’s also led to countless hours of practice. Well I simply can’t put to words how extremely grateful I am to him for teaching me things I really wanted to learn about and that really don’t seem teachable via books alone. His teaching makes sense of the core ideas I’ve seen and mostly bypassed for decades in how-to draw books. His teaching content and his voice / focus as well mean I’m going to get the sketchbook in front of me – it goes in between me and the video and immediately afterwards another hour or more go into practice. So lucky for me (being an early bird) I can get up very early before work and often get a little bit done after work. If you really want to learn how to draw well and draw any form from imagination with accurate proportions, etc. go to his channel.