Ways to Start Drawing Every Day: Sources are all around you

Ways to Start Drawing Every Day

Sources are all around you…

“Anything that comes your way, including the work of artists, is a place for starting.” - Sister Corita Kent

Starting is hard. For professional artists and beginners, finding a starting point can be enough to discourage us from beginning at all. We don’t want to ruin a good idea, or waste time and resources on something that might disappoint us. Instead of focusing on a drawing’s outcome, think of drawing as an experience. Every drawing session is an experience in which you can pause, and record your observations.

Here are a few drawings (less than 30 min) in which I pause and observe.

Each drawing experience combines two components: what, and how. What is the subject; that object or view you are looking at for inspiration. What is your starting point and guide. How is the marks you make on the page, also known as the elements of art (color, shape, line, texture, and rhythm). How is what makes your work unique from everyone else

What and How: Knife in Glass

Knife in Glass,  Richard Diebenkorn. 1963. Oil on wood.

Knife in Glass, Richard Diebenkorn. 1963. Oil on wood.

 Knife in Glass, by Richard Diebenkorn, is a great example to understand what and how. What depicts a simple still life: a knife in a glass. How is the colors, shapes, and textures Diebenkorn employs to record his experience of observing a knife in a glass. 

Pause a moment to examine some of the how:

  • What types of shapes can you see?

  • What colors is Diebenkorn using?

  • Where do you think Diebenkorn wants you to focus?



Heres an exercise: Try drawing any object using a viewfinder

  • 25 minutes is a good amount for drawing. You can focus on one drawing, or a few drawings. Set a timer!

  • Use any paper as a surface to draw: sketchbook or printer paper. Envelopes, too!

  • Focus in on a subject in your immediate surrounding. Try not to think about the “what”, and instead study lines, shapes, and textures. Almost like you are flattening distance.

    • Using your phone’s camera as a viewfinder can help frame your subject in an interesting way, and interpret distance as a flat 2-dimensional plane.

  • Use a black pen or a pencil (no erasers). This is about the experience of drawing, not drawing an object perfectly.

Your drawings stand on their own as complete works, and also serve as a starting point or anything else you want to create, like linocut block prints, paintings, or even photographs. 

Share your drawings for guidance! Join our private facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bppcreativecommunity/

Carry pen and paper wherever you go, and be ready to pause

If an object catches your eye and makes you pause, take some time to draw it, not thinking about the outcome. What do you notice about you're drawing?