Wednesday, 22 October 2014

75 Day Sketch Challenge: The End - The Beginning

At last. I meant to write this post over two weeks ago, right after having finished my 75 Day Sketch Challenge. But October hasn't been good to me healthwise, and I didn't have the energy to do anything at all, really. But things are looking up now, and it's time to finally get this post written and posted.

Considering how miserably I have failed with most of the challenges I have tried to undertake in the past few years, I really didn't expect much when I started with this one. I didn't really believe that I would manage to do 75 sketches in 75 days, but decided to just start and not think too much about it. Well, not only did I do 75 drawings in 75 days, but I actually did one sketch a day, for 75 days. And I must admit, that I'm feeling quite a bit proud of myself :)

So here are the last six sketches. The last day of the challenge was a Sunday, so I took my time to sketch all the different pens I used for the drawings.

And here are some thoughts about my experiences withe the challenge:
  • The pencil:  I found the no pencil rule restricting at times. I really like graphite, and I missed it and the option of picking up and experimenting with whatever medium I felt like. And while I can understand the idea behind the no pencil rule, I'm afraid it's not for me. At least not as a permanent rule, which far too often carries the implication that certain tools, such as the pencil, are inferior. There are no inferior tools or techniques, and pencil and eraser are as valuable for whatever purpose you use it as every other tool. There are only tools and techniques that suit you and your style better or less well. Banning a certain tool from your tool box doens't make you a better draughtsman. The only thing that makes you better at drawing is to draw. As much as possible. Experiment with different tools, and with time you will find out which ones suit you best, in gerneral, and in certain situations, styles or techniques. We all work differently, and therefore have different ways to achieve the results we want. And all of them are equally fine. Whatever works for you.
  • The sketchbook: I dedicated a special sketchbook to the challenge, a little square Handbook. It's great to flick through its pages and see all the drawings in one book. The paper was suited well enough for the mediums I used, and its size meant that it was convenient to carry with my everywhere. But at times, I really would have prefered a different format, different paper. I know now that, at least for the moment, I don't want to use just one sketchbook, but different ones, for different purposes and moods.

  • Perfection: Because of the sketchbook I used, and because of my decision to share all of my drawings online, I ended up being a bit afraid to mess up too much. So I wasn't quite experimenting as boldly as I would have liked. I still pushed my boundaries, and a little bit of collage covered up one drawing that was beyond rescue, but I'm looking forward to experiment more now, without the pressure of the result having to look neat and comfortable enough to share.

  • Drawing daily / Daily drawing: I really enjoyed drawing daily, even if it was just a very quick 5 minutes sketch. I know now that I can fit something in every day, no matter how little time. But at times, I found it a bit difficult having to come up with a complete drawing every day. I'm looking forward to be able to take more time for a drawing, to work on it over several days if I feel like doing something more elaborate. I definitely want to keep drawing every day, but it doesn't have to be a drawing a day.

  • Pens: I used a number of different pens, and I really got to know them, and which one I like best. Apart from my Lamy and TWSBI fountain pens, I really enjoyed drawing with fineliners. The Copic Multiliner SP is expensive, but has a nice range of colours as well as matching brush pens. For a simple black pen, the Unipin Fineliner is definitely my favourite at the moment, especially the 0.05. I just love those very, very fine lines. Add a 0.1 and a 0.3 and a couple of brush pens and the odd ballpoint, and I'm happy.

  • Lettering: At the beginning, I only added a sort of title and maybe some comment at times to my drawings, but in the course of the 75 days, I really started to enjoy adding more elaborate lettering and writing. A drawing without it would have felt imcomplete. I definitely want to spend more time exploring lettering and journaling.

  • Goal: My main goal was to get into a regular, if possible daily, drawing habit. In that respect, the challenge was a 100% success.
Of course, the end of the challenge is only the beginning, or maybe the continuing. Anyway, of lots of drawing, hopefully daily, of experimenting of all kinds, of pushing boundaries and comfort zone leaving, of trying out new things, learning, improving... and most of all, having lots of fun with it.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

75 Day Sketch Challenge - No. 58-69

The end is near! Only 6 to go. Or rather 5, as I did No. 70 in my lunch break today. I've mentioned before that I'm glad when it's over, for various reasons. And I'll write a post about the whole experience next week, when I'm all done and finished with it, so I'm not saying much about it today.

Just one funny thing that I noticed these past few days. Whereas at the beginning of and well into the challenge, most of my drawings where done with lots of colour, and all kinds of different pens, it seems that in the past few days, I find myself more and more drawn to the simple black pen - my favourite UniPin 0.05 fineliner. Love this pen.

Friday, 19 September 2014

75 Day Sketch Challenge - No. 31-57

It's been almost a month since my last post, but there's good reason for my absence - after everyone else had been away during the school holidays, finally, it was my time to relax for a couple of weeks in sunny Dorset. And sunny it has certainly been. Apart from a little drizzle in Swanage on Tuesday in the first week, it has been dry, and mostly sunny the entire two weeks. And we didn't stay in Swanage, but turn back straight away to go and see Corfe Castle, where it wasn't drizzling, and where we spent a happy couple of hour exploring the castle ruins. So Swanage is still on my list of places to visit in Dorset, among quite a few others. But we've certainly been busy visiting places and going for long walks, and also having the one or other relaxing day. But I'll try to post some pics and all later, in a separate post.

My 75 Day Sketch Challenge is still going on, and I've actually managed to keep up with doing one drawing a day, both before and during my holiday. Many of my holiday drawings (No. 38-53) are related to the places we visited - Portland, Cheddar Gorge, the Dorset County Show (what a great day that was!), West Bay, our favourite cream tea cafe, Lyme Regis, and the gardens and animal park at Kingston Maurward. 

Keeping up with my challenge was especially hard during the holiday. I had expected to have much more time for drawing on holiday, but I hadn't counted on the weather and us being out all day and coming home late most of the days. Having to sit down at 10 o'clock at night, after a packed day out, and come up with a drawing really was tough at times. But I had already come so far that not doing a drawing every day just wasn't an option anymore. And I'm glad I kept it up, and that I have all those holiday memory in my little book too.

The end's in sight now, less than 20 drawings to go. And my, I'm glad when it's over. But I've mentioned that before, and I intend to write a post about my experience with the challenge when I've finished it, so I'll save everything till then.

It's been a while, but I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday again today, and looking forward to see what everyone has been up to.

Friday, 22 August 2014

75 Day Sketch Challenge - No. 21-30

Another 10 sketches in my 75 Day Sketch Challenge done, 30 altogether now, a whole month, basically. And so far, I've kept up the one-a-day, which really makes me happy. I can't remember how long they say it takes to make something a habit, but this is certainly starting to become a habit. Doing my daily sketching has become a part of my daily planning. If I know that I won't have time to draw in the evening, I do it in my lunch break. On those days, when I go to Yoga or Pilates in my lunch break, I try to keep the evening free, and schedule my social life around my daily sketching. Which isn't very difficult, I don't go out very often. On a day like last Tuesday, when both lunchtime and evening were taken up, I sneak in a little 5 minute sketch whenever I find the time. So far, it worked fine.

Actually, last Tuesday, my portrait drawing class started again, so technically, I spent two hours drawing anyway. But since I dedicated this little sketchbook to the challenge, I have to do my daily challenge sketch in it, no matter how much I draw elsewhere on that day. That is one thing I'm really looking forward to when the challenge is over. Not to be restricted to a certain sketchbook, but to sketch in and on whatever I feel like. And because I'm sharing all my challenge sketches, I'm more careful with my drawings, making sure that they're halfway presentable, and not being quite so adventurous and experimental as I might like to be. So when I want to try out something that I'm not sure is going to work out, I do that in a different journal, which I know I don't feel i have to share if I don't want to.

But of course I'm also learning a lot about how I sketch, what works for me. Even though I miss working with pencil, I've stuck to the no pencil-rule so far and always used some kind of pen for the initial drawing. Except with No. 26, which was done entirely with coloured pencils (the scanner didn't really pick up the grey one). I know that I don't need a pencil to do an initial sketch, but sometimes, at least some help lines would be useful, to get the proportions and perspective right. The pencil will definitely be a part of my daily sketching after the challenge.

The main thing, though, has been to get into the habit of daily sketches. And so far, that's been a great success.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

75 Day Sketch Challenge - No. 8-20

I thought I had posted the first 10 drawings of my 75 Days Sketch Challenge in my last post, and so I was waiting until I had finished the next 10 before scanning and posting them, but then realised that I had only shared the first 7 so far. So here are the past 14 sketches.

So far, I have succeeded in doing one drawing each day, but that might change by the end of the summer, when my portrait drawing class and my Swedish class start again. I do try to do my drawing in my lunch break if possible, if can't draw in the evening. Some of the drawings have been inspired by the lessons in Sketchbook Skool, especially last week's class with Andrea Joseph, which was all about the good old ballpoint pen (and other pens too). I've meant do some pen-only drawings too, but so far, I just couldn't resist colour - coloured pencils or watercolour for most of them. But hey, I've still got 55 days to go.

I am enjoying the challenge so far, although it sometimes really is a challenge. It's not the drawing itself that is the problem, though, it's finding something to draw when I'm tired and uninspired. Some are quicker, some take more time, depending how much time, and energy, I have. But I really, really enjoy to draw every day. Even if it's just a quick sketch of my pens.

There's one thing, though, that I'm beginning to find a little bit frustrating - the pen only restriction. I know, I know, it's all about getting confident with drawing with pen and not relying on the good old pencil, or rather the eraser. But I'm finding it very limiting. What I want to do right now, with the help of the challenge, is to explore different styles, techniques, mediums. Including the pencil (but not necessarily the eraser). Of course I do other drawings besides those for the sketch challenge, at the weekends, when I have the time. But during the week, these drawings for the challenge are all I've got time for. So I might eventually break that rule, but only because I feel that I would benefit from it. I want this challenge to be a helpful part of how I draw, and will draw in the future, not something completely different, that I just do so that it's done, and put away once I've finished. But we'll see. There's still 55 days to go...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

75 Day Sketch Challenge - slightly adapted

I haven't been around much in blogland lately, over a month since my last post. I meant to write several posts, composed them in my mind, took the photos - and then just never got round to it. Sometimes, one just needs a break. I haven't taken a break from drawing, though. Quite the contrary. I've been drawing and sketching more than ever, and I'm slowly getting into the habit of drawing every day, which I hope I'll be able to keep up when life gets more busy again after the quiet of summer. I haven't touched my acrylic paints in months, but that's okay too. I'm happy exploring different aspects, techniques, styles... of drawing, playing around with watercolours, and experimenting with new mediums. I'm sure the time will come eventually, when I feel ready to pick up those paints again.

We're in the middle of the second course of Sketchbook Skool, and as with the first course, I'm so inspired by the teachers, and my fellow klassmates. Even if I haven't done all the homework (yet), I'm learning something from every new klass, and it all comes together in different ways in my drawings. Brenda Swenson, one of the teachers in the second course, suggested the 75 Day Sketch Challenge. I think this challenge has been around for quite some time, I remember having seen people doing and posting about it before (although it seems to have disappeared now). Basically, the idea is to do 75 pen drawings, without doing an outline in pencil first, within 75 days, preferably one every day. I love drawing with pencils, and I also think that it's quite okay to use it for an initial outline, if it makes you feel more comfortable. But using pen only is a good exercise to build up your drawing skills and confidence, and the challenge itself is a great way to get into the habit of daily drawing. Both things I want to develop (and the reason for doing the challenge).

I have adjusted the rules a little bit, though. For some reason, you're only allowed to use black or blue ink. Not quite sure why, but I've only just managed to get one of my Noodler Ahab flex pens working (I have two, and it seems that I can only get to work one of them at the time), and the ink (Noodler's Brown) flows so beautifully, that I have to make the best of it as long as it lasts. And then there are the red and green Bic pens too... And I'm adding colour to my drawings too, watercolours and coloured pencils. I'll certainly do some sketches without colours too, but for the moment, I just want to play with my new Daniel Smith watercolours (which are finally available in Switzerland), and my new coloured pencils. So here are the first seven of my 75 drawings, all of them drawn in ink, #1 and #3 over a watercolour background, #5 with watercolour over ink, and #2, 4, 76 and seven with coloured pencil over ink:

I'm using a Handbook for the challenge. I was going to my pile of empty sketchbooks to find one that had enough pages for the challenge. I don't know why I felt I had to do each drawing on an individual (single or double) page, as I really like those composite pages, but there you go. They're lovely sketchbooks with paper that seems quite thin but which takes watercolour very well, without bleeding.

I also meant to write something about the re-discovery of a new/old medium - the coloured pencil, but I think I'll have to put that into a separate post, or else this one gets just too long.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Summer of Colour. Week 2: Coral, Teal and Bright White

It's week two of Summer of Colour, and this week's colours are:

Coral & Teal 
with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Bright White

Again, like last week, it took me all week to come up with something, but this afternoon, I finally sat down, took my toy elephant model out of the bookcase, grabbed my watercolours, and started sketching. I really love the combination of red and teal, I was a bit sceptical, I must admit, I'm not much of a red person, but the really do look great together. The page's not quite finished yet, I want to add some writing, but it'll have to wait a bit.

Next week's colours will be up tomorrow. Can't wait!