I’ve started a new drawing routine for myself. As much as I believe in rock solid concentration on the project, there’s always room for healthy tangents from your main focus. I also firmly believe that everything in your work is related, no matter how vastly different anything can seem at times.
Over the last week, I’ve been doing daily gesture drawings of my 8 month old baby. Although I’ve had years of formal training in drawing the figure from life, these drawings are a completely different story; She’s not exactly your typical classroom model. I will admit that life drawing is something I need to get back into, as I believe that strong skills in life drawing are what inform one’s ability to work from other resources successfully.
My daughter started crawling a few weeks ago, so that’s made drawing her quite an enormous challenge; she moves very quickly, so that each sketch I do is probably just about a 10-20 seconds gesture. That said, I’ve been trying different strategies to help me get as much information as possible in such a short period of time. Recently I’ve been keeping each gesture drawing very small so that I’m able to get everything in, and getting some distance from her is useful in getting me to see past details and focus on the whole.
I’m doing the drawings on watercolor paper with a bamboo pen and walnut ink. The bamboo pen is a great tool because for me it’s sort of a halfway point between a pen and a brush. The bamboo pen has the variety in the marks of a brush, but it also provides the directness and control of a pen.
This drawing exercise will help me keep my eye sharp, and keep me on my toes. The monotypes I’m working on right now are executed under very controlled circumstances that I set up in advance, and I like the exhilaration of drawing in a completely spontaneous and unpredictable situation.