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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hot Drawing Tips from the Trenches


50 minute drawing exercise from the Artsy Poses reference site.

The Challenge

25 people signed on for the July drawing challenge, and 10 of us connected for a conference call this week to check in on progress and buoy each other on.
The call was fantastic with lots of great tips and ideas. There was a mix of "success", with some of us managing to draw every day, and some missing as many as 8 days in the first two weeks. No matter, the point was that everyone is showing up and committed to keep tackling the challenge for the final two weeks of July.
We checked in on what was important to us about pursuing this goal and some great reasons surfaced:

Top Reasons to Draw Every Single Day

"I know that it is the key to becoming a masterful painter."
"I am an artist, and it is a critical component of perfecting my craft."
"I am already noticing that I am seeing differently: more clearly, more intensely, more accurately."
"If I can commit to making this an ongoing daily ritual, it will propel my skill to a higher level."
"It is engaging and fun, and once I get going, I get totally lost in the process."
"I find myself measuring without even thinking about it now, it has become second nature."

Next we checked in on what was getting in the way for those who were missing days, and what was working for those who weren't:

Fab Tips for Supporting Success in the Commitment

Know that it really is OK to draw for as little as 15 minutes, the short time frame is what helps to make it do-able. Then make that 15 minutes a priority over checking email, Facebook, TV, etc. 
Enlist your family and/or house guests to support you in your goal, simply explain what you are doing and why you need to excuse yourself for 15 minutes. They will admire you for it!

Keep your sketchpad by your computer where you will see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The visual reminder will prompt you to "eat your veggies."

Have small sketchpads everywhere, in your car, in your bag, in several rooms in the house. Then when the urge strikes you, the book is there and ready to go.
Stay focused on the outcome, the reason for the discipline. This is about becoming exceptional at your craft.

Final Thoughts

There is a line that gets crossed, a point where drawing goes from being "something I should do more of" - to being one of the most joyful aspects of being an artist. Drawing well is what creates the shift, and that can only be accessed through ongoing practice.

Next Call

We also talked about a few different approaches to drawing that mix it up and keep variety, motivation and different kinds of skill building a part of the process. Feel free to come on to the next conference call to hear more about this. There's no charge for this (other than long distance) - it's a labour of love and a great way to network with fellow artists on the journey. Send me an email if you want to join us and I'll send you the date and dial in number.

1 comment:

  1. I missed the conference call as I was doing a mandatory / volunteer (i know, what IS wrong with that phrase) at a summer arts festival but I have been participating most days. One day it was a sketch in a cafe where i pulled the partial page from my book and left on the table as a surprise. One day it was a parking sign sketched in the car waiting for my daughter to come and join me for lunch! I have been trying to mostly use the moments in random places outside my usual routine to add a kind of permission to play expansion to my summer 'school' decision to try new things. i feel bold leaving little quick sketches behind for strangers to ponder. I think my skills maybe aren't leaping forward from this exercise just yet, but, my sense of humour, my willingness to be incomplete and imperfect has grown. I am finding it has been a smile that I am grateful to share. thanks!