Drawing Exercises

Drawing exercisesI love drawings of all kinds – graphite, ink, black & white, color. Doesn’t matter. I love a gorgeous expressive line. Is it any wonder I was a drawing major in college?

Needless to say, I’m a big believer in drawing skills. For me, it’s not about representing something realistically. It’s about hand-eye coordination – or actually hand-idea coordination. Drawing allows me to get my brain and my hands working together to communicate what I’m thinking.

Despite that, I don’t draw as often as I should, but I can always tell when my skills are rusty. Although much of my work is abstract, it suffers when my drawing skills are off: paint doesn’t go where I want it, lines don’t make sense, colors don’t behave. I just can’t get my ideas down the way I want.

I’ve been stalling on practicing drawing because I know I’m rusty and the drawings will be lousy until my skills get polished up. I hate going through that phase of yucky work.

One way to get back in shape quickly is to do lots of drawings quickly.

Over the weekend, I decided to do a quick draw marathon. I set up a simple still life, got out a stack of cheap paper, and sharpened up some pencils. No erasers allowed.

5 minute timerI set the timer on my cell phone for 5 minutes and started drawing. When the timer went off, I re-set it for another 5 minutes and did another drawing. And another. And another.

After about 6 attempts at the still life, I noticed myself developing routines and taking shortcuts. So I switched up the still life every few drawings.

Still life set upThe still lifes were simple stuff – apples and onions from the fridge. A bunch of bananas. A little vase. Whatever was at hand.

We used to do this in school – drawing for 30 seconds , 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. It really is effective practice.

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