Learning to draw…

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Someone was asking for ti’s on how to start drawing today so I gave this response.

Choose good quality things to draw with. If you use pencils try softer ‘b’ numbers not hard ‘h’ ones. It’s nice to see the marks you make. Also choosing a combination of thin and thick nibbed black pens means you can have different sizes of marks. Choose a sketchbook that has at least a hard back if you can. Not too big. That way it’s easier to hold and it doesn’t slump mid drawing. Finally you could practice making marks with them. I started drawing copies of things when I was a child. I chose something I liked. It helps your hand eye coordination. You don’t have to do that though. Everyone will do things differently.

I suppose I could have talked more about what to draw, but I think basic equipment is important. If you draw something but it looks weedy and thin it it can put you off. Like when you use cheap paints. You don’t get a good effect, you can’t really see the result and you might have to scrub at the paper to get the marks to show up.

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Today’s drawings

Today I had the pleasure of going out with The Orme Art group for our annual trip to a landscape venue at an old house and its grounds in Staffordshire.

The weather was very windy,  so I decided to take a small sketch pad  and coloured pencils,  soft pastels, and fine tipped ink pens. I thought I had my portable chair in the back of the car but it wasn’t there when I opened the boot. Luckily there were chairs in the garden of the large house for us to use.

The other artists there were either painting with watercolours or acrylics, but we were in a reasonably sheltered spot, so they were not affected by the wind. There is something wonderful, sitting in a green space,  looking at the landscape, the shapes of the trees and leaves. Noticing where the shadows fall, which direction the light is coming from. Choosing the medium which is most appropriate for the drawing you are doing. I find using black pens are good for quick sketches, and outlining and shading shadowed areas. The pastels bought out the colours on an old tree, where only one section of bark was still attached and so only a few branches were still in leaf. I used the coloured pencils to try and give an impression of the solidity of the house with feathery leaves superimposed on the walls and windows. Finally I drew a quick sketch of one of the other artists as she painted the tree that I had drawn.

Having a small A5 sketch pad that is ring bound is really useful. You can draw across the whole page without it flipping shut on you. Yes the holes and wire can get in the way a bit, but being able to fold the whole book back allows for easier handling. You can use it in portrait or landscape positions, and it is easier to fold shut if you get caught in a sudden rainshower.

I spent about an hour on the drawing of the house, and 20 to 30 minutes on the landscape/tree. The quick sketch of my friend took about 15 minutes.

The one thing I should have worn is sturdy shoes! There were a lot of insects about and I’m lucky I didn’t get bitten!