Great idea number 5. Find and use inspiring books. Sometimes a moment spent browsing though a book of lovely colour pictures with sound and precise instructions is all you need. It may a be book of techniques or it may be a book of artworks. Perhaps it is even one of those copyright free image books that are so clever you wonder how they are drawn. I wonder if it is poetry, a passage from the Bible or a novel that inspires you? Whatever type of book it is the key is to use it as a challenge like one mentioned in the previous post and start sketching from that inspiration. My favourite books at the moment are Collage Lab by Bee Shay, Kim Thittichai‘s Experimental Textiles and Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones. None of these are drawing books as such but each have some great hints and wonderful exercises to try. I find that browsing through one of them motivates me to draw something so that I can play round with the idea that has caught my eye.
Great idea number 6. Find a media that you completely love and use it! All the time. Do some research and refine your skills. See what it can do as you draw draw draw! I would suggest 3 or 4 grey lead pencils would be a good start – 6 or 4B, 2B, HB and an H of some sort. Each of these pencils have different qualities whether it be the High Bs allowing you to get really dark tones or the H being useful for intricate details that complete the drawing but don’t overpower the image. My other favourite drawing mediums are inks, oil sticks, oil pastels and Pitt pens. Whatever your medium of choice is look for ways to use it in a different way, e.g. cross hatching, stippling (dots), layering or scratching back and rubbling out. I find that having different ideas to try extends my desire to keep drawing.
Great idea number 7. Draw everything. I discovered a lovely blog the other day of an artist called Tracey Fletcher King. Her work is delightful. The post I discovered was all about a pesky mosquito interrupting life. Take a look – she draws everything.
Great idea number 8. At some point you may decide to narrow down your subject matter so to stay on track collect items that relate and take lots of photos. Everytime you see something you like, take a photo. I am firmly keeping a hold on two books that have really inspiring, close up, vibrant photos in them so I can draw from them when I need to. One is “Australian Birds in colour”by Ketih Hindwood and the other is “Jenny Phillips’ Australian Botanical Artist” calendar from 2003.
Both of these probably don’t have too much monetary value but to me they contain invaluable images that fill me with awe when I look through them. I understand that drawing from real life is best practice but drawing from photos is ok too. Which leads me to idea number 9.
Great idea number 9. Collect things that inspire you. Interesting images from the newspaper, a favourite but broken mug, the ice cream scoop that got ruined in the dishwasher(?), jugs, shoes…I don’t know what would be your choice but even though these days we are encouraged towards minimalism, collecting a few things that really make you want to pick up that pencil and draw, I’m sure would be fine to hold on to.
It’s a shame to end with out a number 10 but I really do think that is enough for now. So I’ll just leave you with this thought – how great our drawings would we be if we just spent a little and often on them! I’m trying, I really am! I would love to hear what inspires you to draw and even see some…send me a link. JP