Drawing Habits

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.       Kurt Vonnegut

I have been developing the practice of using my sketchbook daily and also spending a lot more time drawing in public. I have almost filled my second sketchbook with drawings of things that just catch my attention or goals that I had set for myself.

I started my practice with an on-line drawing class with Roz Stendahl, a Minneapolis painter and proponent of drawing everyday. (the more you draw the more you practice, the more you practice the more you want to draw) That led to drawing outings with an urban sketchers group and now I am again taking a drawing class with Sketchbook Skool, another on-line drawing site.

My sketchbook is my workbook. Sometimes I have something more finished on a page, but often times just contours/gestures of figures, interiors of local businesses, and nature. Drawing is meditative, frustrating, challenging, or just fun. It depends on the day.

I learn a lot about myself as I draw. So far I have learned that drawing takes endurance for observation. I try not to start with a pencil, but go right for the drawing tool. I love my drawings where the lines are drawn again and again to get the perspective right or the proportion closer. The drawings have an energy and tell me where I corrected a bad angle, changed my point of view. The drawings show my thinking.

I have an inner critic (ic) that often has to be sent to the basement.  My critic wants my drawings not to be about practice but about something else. It took a really long time to get the critic to go down the stairs. The ic had a lot to say about drawing a portrait or figure. The critic wanted to see photographic likeness with portrait, the same for figures.

I love to draw in public. I do not think I have ever drawn in public, unless I was in a drawing class and the class together went on drawing excursions. When I started drawing in public alone, I realized that safety in numbers was quite different than going solo. I have had so many wonderful moments meeting people, talking about their drawing habits, hearing stories when my subject evokes a memory for them. It is really the best part of drawing in public and I regret I did not doing it sooner. I have yet had anyone criticize what I am drawing. It is all good! Each time I draw in public it becomes less scary and really supportive.

So I had better get back to my goal this this week…”Things that fold, bend, or twist.” And think about where do I want to go next with this daily practice?