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.

working working working
So these make most up of what I do everyday, to make art.

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

you can tell how many times I have drawn one boat compared to the other
In my daily sketchbook I tend to draw this survey boat from Fleetwood that I photographed a few years ago.

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

Splish that watercolour paint around
I do like the architectural nature of liquorice allsorts.

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.

never really settle on a style
All the boards I have painted on recently are pieces of scrap plywood and mdf from my day job, primed with some gesso.

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 many layers of lines
So my hundred drawing challenge at the moment is to do a pencil crayon sketch and fill an A4 sheet

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

No I'm not a tractor enthusiast
Last month I filled a sketchbook with buildings, this month it is tractors.

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

quick marks as the children play
My out an about sketchbook doesn’t always get used every day, but when I do I tend to fill several pages in a day.

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?



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  1. 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…

    1. daily drawing is a lot more convenient than trying to get to my pottery especially with the day job during term time.

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