I became intrigued by the Sketchbook Challenge and since more drawing is something I always try to find time to do, I decided to follow along. The first month's theme is "Highly Valued." Here is my first drawing of two of my favorite silver and turquoise bracelets. The large one was my grandmother's.
It's not good. I am rusty. I really need to do these drawing exercises. I used a fine felt tip marker. I like drawing with them, but they are unforgiving. I felt I went a little astray by adding so much shading and detail. For the next one I decided to go very basic and do a simple contour drawing of a set of silver salt and pepper shakers that were my Mom's. Oy. Terrible.
But this is what I need to practice. With practice it will get better. Contour drawing means you just start drawing the outside edges of what you see. No measuring, no erasers, no do-overs. It is great training for really seeing the shape and contour of an object. You would be amazed at how revealing doing a contour sketch is. Using a pencil, or a graphite pencil, as I have in the sketch below, allows you to block things in, get the proportions right, figure out the relationships, but you don't learn as much, in my opinion.
I am a huge believer in learning to draw. I think I've said this before. It gives you so much more to work with as an artist, if you can draw what you want to represent. Seems obvious, but it isn't, and many artists fight it and claim they will "never" learn to draw. Pshaw. It can be done, but you need to keep it up to keep the skill viable.
So far, my take on the Sketchbook Challenge, after looking at the work that has been posted on the Flickr site is that there is a huge difference in concept of what a sketchbook is. For me I have always used sketchbooks for two purposes: 1. to work out ideas for larger work and 2. for drawing just to keep in practice. My sketchbooks are not lovely things and are not meant for anyone else's eyes. Other people, and I think this is very trendy, use the idea of a sketchbook to make an artist's journal to be shared. Some are wonderful, some are dreadful, frankly. This kind of sketchbook, however does not interest me. I am seeing many participants in this challenge using their responses to, what? Entertain? Silly little things and cartoony drawings, doodly stuff and lots of pasted paper and magazine clippings. Fine, I suppose, but I think I am a little disappointed to see less commitment to actual drawing and skill-building.
And now, this very evening, I impulsively signed up for an on-line class, the first I've ever taken, about "Silly Drawing." Do you think I'm too serious for this? It will probably be good for me.
Here, by the way, is my basic drawing kit. Sketchbook (I have others—different sizes), pencils, pens, erasers, and bag to carry it in. No glitter. No glue. No cutesy ephemera. I may add my colored pencils and/or watercolors in due time.