May 13, 2019
In April, I decided to redraw items that I had drawn in 2016 or early 2017. I had thought that perhaps I would be able to make some dramatic comparisons. That wasn’t really the case though. I am posting only the current drawings here, but each day I posted the current drawing on Instagram with the original. It may not have turned out as I had expected, but it did give me a break from coming up with ideas of what to draw for the month.
In each drawing I added a bit of colour (even if it was grey) with watercolour. I used either my Winsor & Newton travel box of watercolours or my Peerless Transparent Watercolors. I enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to learn something new. The two sets produce quite different results and I have a lot to learn about both yet.
April 1, 2019
My drawing theme for March was plants and flowers. I had thought that this subject matter would be a good opportunity to use coloured media and I envisioned pretty little watercolours and coloured pencil drawings capturing delicate colour transitions. It was a busy month for me though, and not only were the drawings not turning out as I had hoped, I was frequently pressed for time.
So I switched to Sharpie and pigment pens and started playing with line thickness and quality of line. Sharpie is not a medium conducive to a slow or faltering line and I quickly chose to sacrifice accuracy as a result. This changed the experience of drawing considerably and I really enjoyed it. Instead of placing my lines carefully and erasing and correcting, I had to commit and when my lines were clearly wrong, I had to work with it to make the drawing work independently of the subject in front of me.
While drawing I spent more time looking at my subject than at the paper and I believe my accuracy improved over time. I’m pleased that these drawings have left me with a new approach/style that I can adopt when I want to do something different. I will come back to this and work on evolving it further down the road.
March 12, 2019
“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere, but whenever I want to get into it, I get a feeling of apathy and want to lie down and go to sleep.” – Willem De Kooning
I really enjoyed my drawings this month – there was a good balance between the challenge of each one and my interest in the subject matter. I’m sure I will be coming back to this subject matter again. The shapes of the negative space and the legs provide such a great opportunity to forget what this thing you’re looking at is and just focus on where to put the next line. For the most part, I worked from photos. I had set out to draw all of the chairs in my house and I did get to most of them – except for the four different office chairs that were just bland to me. And there are just so many beautifully designed chairs out there that it would have been such a loss to stick to the ones in my immediate surroundings. I am now finding myself noticing (and photographing) chairs much more as I am out – at restaurants and in the mall. I am slowly building a collection of new chairs to do this all over again down the road with new fodder.
Part of my inspiration for this subject matter comes from the work of Lucia Dill and her paintings of folding chairs. I love everything about these paintings and the narratives she builds into them.
And now it’s spring and I’m working on more drawings to post here next month.
February 17, 2019
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury
This is my third year drawing every day. Having finished my first month, I took a bit of time last weekend to compare my drawings from January 2017 and January 2018 beside my January 2019 work. I had hoped to see huge advances in terms of the quality of my drawings – and I do see improvement, but not what I had hoped for. I found a lot of my drawings this past month a bit frustrating. Considering the shapes of the subject matter I was drawing (produce) consists of organic, often roundish shapes, I had thought I could do better to convey volume. It is what it is though. And I did experiment some with mediums which explains the less than stellar results of the drawings for Jan 14 and Jan 24. And there are some that I really like – Jan 9 and Jan 16. I am still going on this project and with a new theme for February I am looking forward to seeing the results.
January 28, 2019
These are a few drawings from my daily sketchbook from August through November. Somehow I’m able to play a little more when I’m drawing in my sketchbook and sometimes wonder if maybe I should just dispense with using the cut paper and just draw here – I may prefer the results. But I don’t want to be restricted to the same paper every day. It’s the looseness and the textures that I like the most in these particular drawings – I am still working on accomplishing that more frequently. And so I continue on.
December 31, 2018
Another year ending and another 365 daily drawings complete. My theme for my December drawings was Christmas and I pretty much stuck to drawing Christmas ornaments. I had started with the intention of incorporating either red or green on every drawing, but I missed a few days along the way and kind of stopped caring with the rush of the holidays. I was trying to use up the paper that I had prepared earlier so I was using grey paper quite frequently. It’s kind of ridiculous that even though I don’t love working with it, I continue to buy it. I now have two different types of grey paper, a book of Kraft and a book of blue-toned paper. Clearly I need to find a medium that I like to work with on toned paper once I get it out of the store.
Reviewing the drawings of the past year, I feel like I have improved my skills. I wish could say that I’ve improved dramatically, but I don’t really feel that’s the case. I have enjoyed some of the themes that I have worked with and I had a lot of fun trying new things – even when the results were questionable. My goal this past year (besides to improve my skills) were to work with a variety of mediums on a variety of papers. I have done that and am pleased with the result.
I’ve been thinking about how I will continue this project In 2019. Here are some notes on what I’ve come up with:
Continue to use a small format – approximately 5.5″ by 8″
No more black border on each drawing
Stick to a few papers that I like
Maybe more focus on developing my skills with particular mediums – still thinking about this
Definitely more themes – probably one each month
Definitely repeat some of the themes I have done in the past two years
Possibly play with pattern and abstract stuff some months
Possibly play with more fun approaches that don’t involve drawing from observation
Definitely push myself out of my comfort zone (more faces? Maybe landscapes??)
Continue to start each drawing session with quick sketches or drawing exercises in my sketchbook
Continue to post my drawings to Instagram each day
Add a second image to each daily Instagram post showing the materials I used for the drawing
Possibly write a bit more here about my process/approach to drawing and my thoughts about materials
Possibly complete a painting some days instead of a drawing
So at the end of October, I was really sick of drawing every day and I considered stopping. I was uninspired and it felt like a huge chore to continue. But I’ve been doing this for almost two full years now and didn’t want to give up either. I decided to focus on value and I started the month using markers representing a light, a mid and a dark value. This only lasted a couple of days, but it gave me the idea to start playing with value and simplified shapes. I continued to limit myself to three and then two colours and by the end, I actually enjoyed the drawing process again. As usual, through the month I worked with a few different papers and am including some notes about some of them along with a couple of things I learned along the way.
- Nov 15 – 16 – Arches BFK Rives – Really not my favourite paper. It is very soft to the touch and somewhat delicate. Erasing takes a bit of the surface off and I found my ink colours bleeding at times – not what I was looking for.
- Nov 17 – Yupo – Another paper I don’t like. I hear people rave about what you can do with watercolours on this material, but I am not a fan. I learned that if you erase pencil on Yupo, it then resists ink. My ink colours also faded very quickly.
- Nov 21 – 26, and Nov 28 -30 – TerraSkin – I liked the TerraSkin, even though I found my colours would bleed at times. I found pencil does not erase after the ink has been applied on TerraSkin and that was annoying. I discovered that Liquitex Muted Turquoise (Nov 28) is the same colour as Dr. Ph Martin’s Juniper Green (Nov 29), but the brush strokes don’t show as much with the Ph Martin’s on the TerraSkin. Really liked the way the Ecoline inks smoothed out on the surface and the brushstrokes disappeared on the TerraSkin.
November 6, 2018
And here are my October drawings of hands:
Inktober was my inspiration to use ink in all of my drawings this month. This included markers here and there, but as I enjoy working with a brush and ink, that was what I chose most often. Regardless of the ink I use, I generally start with three different shades with the addition of black at times. India ink is my favourite ink and I would create three different dilutions of greys to work with. I like the way that India ink lightens as it dries as I often overestimate how dark I want to work at first. For this same reason, I avoid using undiluted India ink as it is far too black for my taste. I like that India ink is waterproof as it allows me to layer and build up my darker areas as I go. I experimented in a lot of these drawings with other inks – mostly J.Herbin inks and a few other odd bottles I’ve accumulated. Some days I would mix a drop or two of one of my coloured inks in just to see what would happen (thus Shrek hand on the 27th).
Diluting India ink to the different greys I want is tedious at times, so when I found the Ecoline inks in grey, I thought that would be a huge improvement. They are beautiful inks, but not waterproof, so my layering technique resulted in a fair bit of muddiness. Clearly, I need to develop another approach to use with watercolour inks.
Overall, I think this month’s drawings went well. One of my goals this year has been to work with different media and different papers and I played a lot and learned a few things in the process.
October 22, 2018
And here are my September daily drawings:
In my high school art class, the teacher would set up a collection of objects on a large, wooden crate in the middle of the room. Everyone sat around it and there was enough of a variety of stuff piled up to provide us some choice in what we decided to focus on and draw regardless of where we were sitting. At the end of the drawing assignment, all of the class drawings were pinned to the wall and we created this wonderful collection of perspectives and snapshots of the larger view.
This is more or less what I tried to capture in September. I built a busy still life and chose a different portion or viewpoint of it to draw each day. It was challenging to come back to the same subject over and over, but I think that pushing through that initial resistance each time I sat down to draw was a valuable reminder that if I actually observe the everyday items in front of me, I will continually discover new aspects and details that I had missed previously. And this is kind of the point of drawing – to see something new in the familiar.
Here’s a photo of my entire still life for September and one of my drawings from my long-ago high school art class where, rather than choosing a small bit of the still life, I decided to draw everything in front of me.