Fast & Furious or Slow & Curious?

The mountains of Santa Cruz are a great place to practice drawing fast. While on a mountain bike ride, I completed the ink study shown above in just a few minutes. Being able to draw anything, anywhere—fast or slow—is how I like to roll.

Legendary teacher, Kim Nicolaides wrote, “For an artist, the important thing is not how much he knows, but how much he can do” during the time he takes to make a drawing.

During Thursday’s Drawing Lab, Scout and Fiona packed a lot into their drawing time while practicing Level 3 skills and techniques.

According to Nicolaides, the amount of work accomplished in a drawing depends on how you pace yourself. He wrote, “In order to concentrate, one can act furiously over a short space of time or one can work with calm determination, quietly, over a long extended period.”

During Thursday evening’s Drawing Lab, Fiona used pen and watercolor for several fast and furious studies of the ram skull. Kim Nicolaides would have called this gesture drawing. Fiona just calls it fun!

“In learning to draw, both kinds of effort are necessary and the one makes a precise balance for the other,” continues Nicolaides. “In quick studies you will consider the function of action, life, or expression. In long studies you will will develop an understanding of the structure of the model, how it is made.”

One of our foundational principles at the Scribbles Institute is to slow way down and block in dominant shapes and angles of our subject before moving to contours and details. Left to right are Helen, Morgan, and Chris concentrating in slow motion during Wednesday’s session.
Rachel and Zak moved through blocking proportions and then picked up the pace to sketch contour lines of our rusty old lantern.
Zak’s awesome charcoal study of the lantern.
During Friday’s private session, Dotty took her time to go through blocking shapes, sketching contours, and adding details in this excellent drawing.

What makes drawing so exciting is that we never know when a new challenge will present itself to us. We just know that we will be ready to draw fast and furious, slow and curious, and everything in between.

Those mallards just wouldn’t hold still during Saturday’s private session, but Naomi’s curiosity lead the way as she fearlessly sketched her composition.
After sketching her impression of the ducks at Neary Lagoon, Naomi slowed down to emphasize details in the foreground and brush in just the right amount of color…
Notice the delicately detailed dragonfly. It adds the perfect touch.

Schoolwork & Homework

For a high school art assignment Fiona carefully inked exquisite cross-contour lines to show the form of a succulent.
Jesse emailed this ink silhouette of a plant. Just check out those natural-looking contour edges!
Lenore was inspired by our library book called A Drawing Atlas. A 1960 drawing by artist Henry Pearson got her creative mojo going at home as she used a Micron pen for this mesmerizing drawing.
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Rob Court

Founder and drawing coach at the Scribbles Institute, Rob helps adults and kids learn basic drawing skills for work, school, and enjoyment. He is the author of a number of how-to-draw books.