I’ve been visiting family over the past week for the holidays, so I thought that would be a good chance to do some casual sketching here and there.
Although the act of drawing is what I am always excited about, one aspect of the drawing process that I really look forward to is noticing the little things around me that I wouldn’t bother paying attention to if I wasn’t drawing.
I’ve noticed in my drawing classes that frequently when students draw a model posing in class that they leave out details. For example, if a model has a tattoo, many students won’t draw the tattoo. But it’s those specific details that to me add character to the person.
We were at a skating rink a few days ago, and my nephew sat down at one point to eat some candy and play a video game. I looked at the way his tangled headphones fell down to the right of him, the stripes on his sneakers, his black socks, the way his hair flopped down obscuring his face, and the Gatorade bottle that sat in front of his thigh. I’m sure that if I didn’t do a drawing of him, I wouldn’t have noticed any of these details. Now the stripes on his sneakers are ingrained in my brain.
In today’s fast paced world, it’s nice to have that time to really look at a scene and absorb every tiny detail in the moment.
I’ve also noticed that when I sketch casually I start thinking about everything that I tell my students in drawing class. Keep moving, jump around the page, don’t linger in any area for too lone. See through the objects, search for where objects intersect and overlap over each other. Forget about what I’m drawing, break it down into abstract shapes and relationships. Look at the subject more than at my drawing.
There’s a part of me that feels obligated to listen to that advice that I give my students, because if I didn’t, I feel like a total hypocrite! Oddly enough, sometimes I really don’t want to listen to my own advice, because I want to work on a part of my drawing that is more fun to do, but that I know will not help my drawing as much. (like staying in one area of my drawing for too long and bringing it to a finish before tackling everything else.) The funny thing is that as experienced as I am, I do find myself being tempted to do the indulgent parts of the drawing process; just like my students! A lot of things never change I guess.