Drawing For The Sake of Practice

5:51 PM

Chris and Booger
No Name Fountain Pen with
Unknown Black Ink
In Junk Journal 
A comment from Monday's post by Cris from Cris, Artist In Oregon fame started me thinking about why we draw, why we draw in a journal...and why it can be so difficult. She wrote the following in response to my question at the end of the post, do you draw regularly:
No, I dont draw regularly Laure. I was in the garden this weekend trying to draw something and what a mess. I NEED to do this regularly. But I find excuses not to. Groan. Number one excuse is WHAT to draw and TWO how to put it on the paper. Should I do it in an order etc. I am so looking forward to my new Northlight Artist journal workshop book coming that deals with these things
Pondering what Cris had written, I realized that many artists (and on occasion, myself) get hung up on what to draw, should it be in order, should it be pencil, pen and ink, watercolor, colored pencil, some combination of mixed media, and then we wonder if it should be a vertical format, maybe square, or horizontal maybe! Oh, wait! We remember we just got that new journal with the handmade paper and we can use our Cray Pas crayons in it! No, wait, the new walnut ink, or maybe we ought to just stick with something simple like pencil......

Sound familiar?!

And so, we draw nothing. Held captive by the overwhelm of choices and possibilities. My response to Cris was simple:
Cris, this is going to sound odd, but it really doesn't matter what you draw if you're drawing for practice. It's more important that you simply draw!
Like most things, it helps to have a clear idea of why we're undertaking a task in the first place.

Are we drawing to improve a certain skill set? How to draw with a certain media type? Or how to draw roses? Or watercolor or pen and ink? Or just plain, old practice?

For me, drawing is the foundation element of all art. To be good at drawing only increases my ability to put something on the page I'm going to really like. I want to be able to draw anything, anywhere, any time. Am I there yet? Heavens, no! But the fun is in the trying and you can bet I'll keep trying!

The sketch above is poor with regard to the perspective, shading and so on. That's okay. It records a moment in our lives of our 20 year-old cat curled up on Chris' pillow. She does this every night. I sketched this in under 5 minutes because Chris was waiting for me to get in the bed and turn the lights out!

I couldn't have done this if I wasn't willing to fail. I couldn't have done this if I hadn't been practicing quick sketching in a hurry. Since Booger's health has begun to fail, I can't wait until I'm good enough. I have to do it now or the chance will be gone forever.

Failing is as much a part of learning as success and what I've learned is that it's okay to fail. In fact, fail gloriously! It means we're learning something! How else can we learn if we don't fail?! Success is not nearly the teacher that failure is.

Cris wrote back, saying:
Thank you, Laure...What you said in your comment to me seemed to free me. I have been drawing something every day. They aren't the greatest drawings and it's in an old torn sketch book, but I am drawing. It feels good to just do something that means nothing but practice.
Sometimes, it really is just that simple. It's practice. It's making a mark on the page. It doesn't matter how,  the paper, the book, the order....it's about the practice.

So I ask, what's holding you back from practicing your drawing skills?

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