“What we create is who we are, and who we are is what we create.” – Tobias van Schneider

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
I’m looking forward to a new year of drawings.
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“Boredom is the deadliest poison.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.

 

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.

“Art is a guarantee of sanity.” – Louise Bourgeois

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.

“There is no absolute point of view from which real and ideal can be finally separated and labelled.” – T.S. Eliot

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.

September Still Life 2018

September Still Life 2018

Everything in Front of You, 1988, Ink on Newsprint

Everything in Front of You, 1988, Ink on Newsprint

“Art happens all the time, everywhere. All we have to do is keep our minds open.” – Jacek Tylicki

Here’s another selection of my favourite drawings from my sketchbook from May and June. Towards the end of June, with my focus on drawing faces, I started skipping my warm-up drawings. At the time it was due to time constraints – I had a lot going on and I wanted to be as quick a possible. This is a busy month as well, but I really think I need to get back to it and start using my sketchbook for quick drawing exercises prior to my daily drawings – blind contours and value maps of the subject I have chosen that will lead me to look at it differently. I will begin tonight and see where it leads.

“All the hand has to be…

February 12, 2018

“All the hand has to be is the unquestioning seismograph that notes down something, the meaning of which it knows not. The less the conscious ersonality of the artist interferes, the more truthful and personal the tracing becomes.“ -Frederick Frank

Here are the drawings from my January 2018 Art Every Day project.

This year I’ve started with a selection of 11 papers cut to 5”x7”. For January I limited my subject matter to a set of basic white shapes while I experimented with my favourite media on these papers. It has been interesting – by which I mean I’ve been very frustrated or very pleased, depending on the day. I’ve realized I need a little more consistency, so I will be restricting my choice of media for a while to a few I really like – unless I’m in a daring mood and decide to live on the edge.

And I need to push myself to develop my drawing skills. I usually come to my drawing at the end of my day feeling like I just need to get it done before winding down before bed – not the sort of headspace that nurtures experimentation or adventure. Last June I committed to spending more time drawing each day. Now I have to commit to taking on more difficult subject matter and focusing on drawing techniques that will help me build my skills, even when I don’t feel like it. I enjoy drawing, but I also feel a little anxious at the beginning of a new drawing, not sure if it’s going to work out how I want it to. I need to continue all the same and slow down a little, pay attention to what I’m actually seeing and stay curious to what appears on my page as I work.

“Beauty will save the world.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

January 1, 2018

All Monthly Books

My 2017 Daily Drawing Project is complete! And here are the December drawings:

I estimate I spent about 150 hours drawing this year and in addition to the 13 books of drawings (12 Moleskines and a full sketchbook), I have come away with the following:
  1. I learned that, with a drawing habit established, it doesn’t matter how I feel when I sit down to draw. The drawing will start to appear and I will slide into the present moment.
  2. Sometimes drawing is about the subject, sometimes it is about materials and sometimes it is about playing.
  3. The actual subject of the drawing doesn’t matter much – it’s about the exercise of drawing.
  4. I remembered how much I love the feel of the pen or the pencil against the paper.
  5. I need to work on fitting my subject onto my page.
  6. I have a lot of opportunity to improve my technical drawing skills – foreshortening especially.
  7. If I stick with a medium for awhile, I eventually figure it out and may even come to love it.
  8. Apparently I like to draw white objects under harsh lighting.
  9. Shadows are immensely important.
  10. I really like water-based brush markers and working with grey.
Some of my favourite repeat subjects:

My favourite drawings of the year:

I’m prepped for my new 2018 Art Every Day project now and will post each image to Instagram daily and the accumulation of the month’s work each month. In 2018 I will continue to post every two weeks and will rotate between daily drawings, paintings I’m working on and other drawings that show up along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.