One afternoon, while rearranging the studio between sessions with students, I picked up a vase of flowers. Holding the vase in my hands, I slowly rotated it to notice a cluster of freshly cut tree leaves embracing a curved carnation stem—they seemed to be performing a graceful dance together. Fascinating drawing subjects have a way of finding you when you least expect it.
Even though I had a busy schedule that day, this shock of elegant beauty engaged my curiosity. I set the vase aside and attempted to move on to other tasks. But glances of vibrant colors and alluring rhythms of details brought me back to the flower arrangement, forcing me to consider drawing it later that evening. Continue reading Drawing is Like Crossing a River
As a kid, I remember squirming with anticipation during the climatic moment of truth in vintage Clint Eastwood westerns. The camera zooms to a closeup of Eastwood’s eyes, followed by unbearable tension as the day of reckoning swelters beneath a desert sun. With eyes narrowly focused, the legendary Clint Squint always spelled doom for the bad guys. We sketchers can take a cue from Eastwood’s famous squinting technique in learning to draw more accurately from observation. Continue reading When the Drawing Gets Tough—Squint!
Every time we open our urban and field sketchbooks to draw, we’re faced with the same challenge—to swiftly transform flat 2D pages into believable 3D environments the viewer can walk into. Continue reading Walking Into a Sketch
In the opening scene of the classic comedy What About Bob, we see a perplexed Bob Wiley, played by Bill Murray, contemplating his fate of stepping outside the door of his apartment and onto the streets of New York. He quickly becomes overwhelmed by his fears of just about everything and everyone in the world.
As Bob finally meets with Dr. Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss, he sits in awe of the prominent psychiatrist’s suggestion to start with reasonable goals. “Don’t think of everything you have to do to get out of the building, Bob. Think about what you have to do to get out of this room,” says Dr. Marvin as he hands Bob a copy of his book Baby Steps. Comedic escapades ensue as Bob applies life-transforming small habits to the bigger complexities of life.
If it’s difficult for you to set—and maintain—your goal to draw regularly, try the advice given to Bob and take baby steps toward an easy and satisfying drawing habit.
Here are simple steps for starting your small drawing habit: Continue reading The Small Drawing Habit
How can a tattered and worn sketchbook possibly compete with the dopamine rush of seeing dozens of Likes on your latest Facebook post? Continue reading Facebook or Sketchbook?
Much is written about the obvious connection between seeing and drawing. A lot of my time spent with students concerns training their sense of sight. Consistency in vision is an essential component in learning to draw. But what if there is another sense that is equally important in guiding you while drawing from observation? Continue reading There’s More to Drawing Than Meets the Eye
Sometimes, after a hectic day, you look forward to going there just to hide out and sketch. Other times it is waiting for you, before the sun comes up—a cozy place to set a warm cup of coffee, open your favorite sketchbook, and draw to your heart’s content. Having a table set aside in your home for drawing is essential for gathering your thoughts and doing deep creative work. Continue reading At The Drawing Table
“I can’t even draw a straight line!” is a common phrase I hear before beginners start lessons with me. But we soon learn to draw a wide variety of lines, including reasonably straight ones. With practice, even errant and wobbly lines will bend to your command. For students like Dotty, shown above, putting various lines to work is at the heart of learning to draw from observation. Continue reading Putting Lines to Work for You