Break Your Own Rules

August 10, 2012


Discipline is vital to art. A local artist once told me “hard work beats talent every day of the week.” I think that is true. That’s why I started working systematically at filling sketchbooks. I can see by flipping through them that the discipline has been good for me.

In college I often started sketchbooks but never finished them. After college I even stopped starting them. When I began in the big black sketchbook, I made a rule for myself that I would henceforth always fill a sketchbook before moving on to another.

Rules must sometimes be broken. Especially your own rules. After finishing the black sketchbook, I bound one of my own. I’m going to confess something. I’ve hated that sketchbook since the day I knotted the Irish waxed linen and signed my name inside the front cover. I hate how heavy it is. I hate the color and texture of the paper. I hate that it feels too precious to draw in.

I’ve been in that damn sketchbook since February of last year. I’m 37 pages from filling it. I’ve had enough. I closed it this morning and decided I’m going to go buy another black one. Now if only I wasn’t nine months pregnant and actually felt like going shopping!




August 9, 2012

I stopped journaling when we came back from China and only started up again last week. I find that the line between my sketchbooks and my journals tends to blur. I journal in my sketchbooks and draw in my journals. Even so, I’ve never had the urge to combine them, and when I’ve tried I’m always unhappy with the results.

Here is today’s sketch out of my little black journal. Very rough, but it feels good to journal and doodle again.



October 14, 2011

This is a drawing I did during a city league hockey game. It’s from one of the magazine clippings I’ve been saving recently. I like the strength of the scribbling in this one, though the perspective of this face was challenging.

A professor told me once not to agonize over making a drawing look exactly like the model, since no one would ever see the model once the drawing was finished. That makes me giggle in light of this drawing. It looks nothing like the magazine picture, but I kind of like it.

Pears Four Ways

October 12, 2011

I have this great magazine picture of a grouping of pears. I love pears. Forget apples. Fresh pears are what I look forward to in the Fall. I drew them in outline — you might have seen them in an earlier post. The next day I drew them again. And the next day again. I have four versions. Some I like better than others, but I’m considering trying this in a more finished format as a grouping of drawings for the wall above my worktable.

You’ve seen this one already.

Negative space. Meh. Not a big fan of this one.

Pitt artist pen.

And of course, the signature scribbles.

I never get tired of pears, but today I found an image of Clementines. Mmmm. Clementines…

Image File

October 11, 2011

I needed something to draw the other night, so I grabbed a free magazine that was sitting on the end table. I ripped out a few pages and had a really good time scribbling in the sketchbook. I’m thinking of keeping them — growing a reference image file of sorts. Anybody out there have any thoughts?

Those pears have made a few appearances lately. I’ll show you the versions tomorrow when I get back to a scanner.

On an unrelated note — yes, I’m still taking all my pictures with my laptop camera. Anyone want to donate a camera to the cause? 🙂

Stay-cation Drawing Practice

October 10, 2011

I like to stick stamps in my sketchbook. I love the aesthetic of the torn envelope and the miniature images sticking out in relief against the drawing page. The drawing is a yoga pose out of a magazine.

Warming up my drawing hand over a cup of hot chocolate. I never got a good likeness of any of the studious little university people in the coffee shop, because I can’t stand drawing slouchy poses. And slouchy poses in hoodies are the worst.

Outline practice. You can thank Lily for getting me hooked on these. Again, from a magazine.

And some portrait practice from a newsletter. It wasn’t until I scanned this in that I figured out why she looked too intense — her eyes are too close together! And if you know me really well, you might know who this guy is. He’s pretty special to us.

Keep creating!