Tag Archives: sketchbook

The Natural Way to Draw

“There is only one right way to draw and that is a perfectly natural way. It has nothing to do with artifice or technique. It has nothing to do with  aesthetics or conception. It has only to do with the act of correct observation, and by that I mean a physical contact with all sorts of objects through all the senses.” —Kim Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw

As a drawing coach, one of my greatest thrills is seeing students smile as they revel in pure, honest sketching from life. I enjoy nudging each student to the next level of exploration and discovery in finding their own confident, natural way to draw. Continue reading The Natural Way to Draw

Precise or Wonky Lines? Both Are Cool!

Last week our Level 3 students started to explore how ink and water flows on paper as they experimented with various line techniques. Shown above is Fiona’s first study of wonky lines and watercolor from a reference book on urban sketching.

During her private session on Saturday, Nicole lays watercolor onto her pencil sketch of a rose as she ponders the option of adding ink or keeping it only watercolor. We’ll see next week.

Continue reading Precise or Wonky Lines? Both Are Cool!

Drawing Italy: (Part 1) Wherever You Go, There You Are

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Studies from inside and outside the room at Hotel Italia, Rome

After months of anticipation, the moment of departure finally arrived—I was jetting to Italy with the purpose of diving into its culture and drawing in my sketchbooks. During the long flight, arcing over Iceland toward Zurich and Rome, I pondered Robert Henri’s advice in his book The Art Spirit:

“The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes—no need to reach any point, moving in any direction following the call of interests. He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook.”

That would be me; a sketch hunter for a month-long adventure in Italy.

Continue reading Drawing Italy: (Part 1) Wherever You Go, There You Are

Students Explore the Benefits of Sketchbooks

Drawing Lab students work in sketchbooks to augment studies we usually do on larger paper. Our Wednesday and Thursday evening crews enjoy learning quick gesture sketches as well as longer, detailed studies of objects around the studio. Shown in the above photos, Lenore happily busted out a fine Picassoesque gesture sketch of the rooster, while Fiona swiftly studied textures and details of the rusty, old lantern.

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Our Thursday evening crew, deep in the sketchbook drawing zone

Regular practice in a sketchbook is an important aspect of improving observational drawing skills. The sketchbook is also a powerful tool for drawing from imagination, organizing ideas for projects, and journaling one’s deepest thoughts. Continue reading Students Explore the Benefits of Sketchbooks

In the Studio & In the Streets: Summer Highlights 2016

During the past several months, as always, our studio enjoyed opening the doors to a diverse mix of students from Santa Cruz as well as international visitors, all with diverse skill levels and interests in drawing. Our Drawing Lab sessions were festive yet focused on improving skills. Continue reading In the Studio & In the Streets: Summer Highlights 2016

Drawing on the Big Screen

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Jennifer Lawrence drawing in the movie “Joy” (2015)

Whether it be a cameo appearance, or a major role, drawing can play an important part in the success of a motion picture. For years I’ve taken note on how drawing is used as a storytelling device in movies, and the many ways characters are shown drawing in everyday life. Here are highlights from my list of past indie and major films as well as some of this year’s Oscar contenders that feature drawing scenes. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. Continue reading Drawing on the Big Screen

Emphasis In Your Drawing

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Micron pen sketch along the Emma McCrary trail, Santa Cruz, California.

On urban streets or nature trails, where I enjoy sketching swiftly, I often find myself struggling with how to show realistic depth in my drawing. I’ve come up with a few strategies that use emphasis of lines and tones to create the illusion of depth and I’d like to share them with you. Continue reading Emphasis In Your Drawing