Keeping a sketchbook

Drawing of David Holmes by Julie Dyer Holmes, fine artistKeeping a sketchbook handy is a great way to build drawing skills. I carry a Moleskin sketchbook and pencils in my purse. That means if I have to wait in line, anywhere, I can sketch to my heart’s content. Here are some tips and thoughts about sketching:

  1. you do not have to share your sketches with anyone if you don’t feel like it
  2. you can share your sketches with everyone if you feel like it
  3. treat yourself to some beautiful pencils and drawing paper
  4. take drawing classes from the best person you can find
  5. consider taking a sculpting class to hone your drawing skills

One thing I have learned about my sketchbook in art school is that it is filled with exercises and, frankly, some pretty rotten drawings. So, to many people your exercises may not look like ‘art.’ What do I mean by this? Well, I really struggled with drawing perspective. So I got a basic drawing book and did most of the very rudimentary assignments in it. For instance, this book suggests that you can train your eye to see perspective more accurately by stacking boxes on top of each other. Be sure the stack is so high that it is above your eye level. Then, draw the stack and remove the top box. Then redraw the stack. Remove another box and redraw the stack. Repeat until you have drawn all the boxes in perspective. This may take you a few stacks of boxes!

We live in a world where people think everyone from Michelangelo to Van Gogh were ‘born’ artists.  Not true! Each spent hours and hours drawing and studying their craft. You can do the same.

But as you decide to improve your skills, be patient with yourself. I came to art school knowing that I needed to refine my skills. Finding the best teachers helps you do that. At Studio Incamminati, one of the best teachers, Dan Thompson, also happens to be one of the most talented artists out there today. If you want to learn how to draw, take a workshop with Dan.

If you decide to apply and attend school here at Studio Incamminati, you will become immersed in using sculpture to improve your drawing. This fall we have spent the last 10 weeks, studying the landmarks of the head and neck and sculpting them in clay. Dan Thompson leads this class with enthusiasm, humor, in depth knowledge of anatomy, art history and drawing.

Ultimately, I know that drawing skills in graphite will translate into drawing skills in paint. I would love to be able to paint and draw what I see with confidence and ease. This year has been a big boost for me because I am beginning to feel as if I can sketch what I see. The quick drawing of my husband, David, above is  one example. But, even now, a few days after completing this sketch, I can see where I can improve the structure and anatomy of this drawing. I consider this a good thing. Because it’s important to develop a critical eye as my skills evolve and grow, too.

That’s the latest from sketching and drawing! What’s happening in your world?

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