Working Daily at Art
This is a partial follow up to 9 ways to use a sketchbook
My daily work at the moment takes many many forms, I draw, I paint and I write poetry.
My wife calls me a workaholic, which is probably true but it helps keep me focused. Since May 2016 I have made an extra effort to make progress on my drawing and painting skills, so far that makes 469 continuous days. I started because I knew I either had to start working full-time at pottery and needed a hobby or I was going to get a job and wouldn’t have as much time to make pottery, which of course the latter came true.
I always wanted to be a painter but when I got to art school I found it was a lot harder than I thought. As a teenager I wanted to design Vehicles, Vessels and Environments for the new Star Wars Films (this was before they made episodes 1-3 never-mind 7 onwards) and I used to draw the most terrible spaceships. I had so many books around the artwork of the older star wars films and used to spend hours studying them.
I wasn’t good at drawing and my careers advisor at school directed me towards science which I was good at but didn’t have much interest in. In my 20s after dropping out of a chemistry degree I came back to art school and discovered how hard making good drawings and paintings was. Discovering ceramics game me focus but I was still very much inspired by bold energetic gauche paintings by concept artists in the film industry and thats why I made big bold brush marks.
Back to present day I’m in my 30s I guess I just want to be better at that sort of thing, I will probably never work on a Hollywood film but I just want to be able to draw better to go on my pottery at least.
Let’s look at some of the ways I currently work:
Daily Sketchbook Pages
My daily sketchbook pages currently runs at a double A4 page spread, made up of still life photographs and refining drawings from other sketchbooks, the boat on the right I have drawn over 400 times (and can be seen on some pots I made in 2016). Drawing the same thing over and over even if it is from a similar angle is good practice for developing muscle memory if I ever decide to carve it onto pottery again it will be a lot easier to replicate
Daily Painting Watercolour and Acrylic
I make both an acrylic painting and a watercolour painting, when I started in May 2016 I thought I would eliminate one of them after a month or two but 469 days later and I still flip flop between which one I shouldn’t do. As I can’t be certain I have carried on doing both.
I have previously done an acrylic painting a day in 2011 when we had a shop and I wanted something to put on the walls, so started painting and made quick intial progress but never managed to push beyond that initial amount. I never felt like I made such huge leaps this time around.
100 Drawing Challenge
So the 100 challenge started because I felt like I wasn’t drawing enough so I grabbed some computer paper and started scribbling away in biro, and then brush pens and any sort of pens. After 100 days I filled a folder full of drawings and couldn’t fit anymore, so then I looked around at the various art supplies I have but don’t use often, so will do 100 days of each. This time it is pencil crayons, I have conte crayons and gauche for another 100 days, there is a lot of things I can play with yet. As I have a still life set up every day it tends to be that though for ease of finding subject matter.
Sketchbook a Month
This is a lot more recent, and is only my second month of doing this one. I saw this youtube video in June:
and thought nah I can’t fill one in a month… July first started and it was the weekend and I gave up thinking about it and started a 96 page A5 sketchbook looking just at drawing buildings, using streetview to drive around my local streets and draw the houses and shops (I did draw further afield too). I managed to finish it in the month somehow drawing a lot of pages on the last few days.
I’m on my second sketchbook and I will probably finish in time at the end of August and then as I am back at work for September to December I will probably do a smaller sketchbook (probably only 32 pages unless I make my own custom size between now and the start)
Out and About Sketchbook
I have an A6 sketchbook in my coat or bag depending on how warm it is outside and try and sketch when I get a chance. It depends on how settled my boys are when we are out, if they are settled usually I can do several pages in quick succession, generally these are fast and marks and are usually scribbles I still have to keep one eye on them in case they wander.
I have learnt a lot about drawing and painting and my preferred way to work over the last 469 days, I just wish I hard started this properly in my 20s, but hindsight it always 20/20. I keep thinking I need to focus on my forms and then get my wobbly lines on top of that.
I always question over size, should I be working bigger, more complicated, do I need to go buy more props to draw and paint something more serious? Or should I be studying more towards the technical drawing and bending perspectives and architectural looking at spaceships. Or do I need to start learning how to draw and paint people, really stretch myself before fruit, sweets and jars of food.
I also want to share what I am doing a bit more, as a reader would you be interested in looking at a post of the best piece I think I have made, perhaps on a Friday?
marvellous..and you must be my conscience prodding me!
I must return to daily drawing, working on the eye-brain-hand co-ordination.
Keep it up!! It isn’t being workaholic…
daily drawing is a lot more convenient than trying to get to my pottery especially with the day job during term time.