After many years of university study, words become scrawl. Scrawl becomes a treasure trove of inspiration. Text turns into it’s own motif. The greater the need to focus the more text becomes a rhythm. A rhythmic sea of text that appears and disappears like waves on the beach.
Unexpected words from a speaker cause a flurry of scrawl barely readable. Then, as the tide of information dissipates, thumbnail sketches appear like cocktails at a resort.
Drawn at a professional development weekend on teaching ethics. Discerning the Message was drawn on a Best Western notepad while listening to a keynote speaker.
(with audio) “Every artwork is a potential masterpiece” but you don’t always know what will look good, especially when you are starting out. I never want to set up people for failure so today I am sharing some tips on life drawing when you’re starting out.
Difficulty spells disinterest
My students one year were given a 12 inch square canvas to paint a picture of themselves and something that identifies them. One student showed me her detailed pencil drawing drawn directly onto the canvas.
In my mind all I could see was the frustration she would be setting herself up for. Having to paint such detailed information onto that small canvas. Watching the pencil muddy the paint or the paint beading over the graphite. Watching the paint go in spaces not intended. Alarm bells as difficulty spells disinterest at the early stages of artmaking in my books.
You live and learn as a art teacher. I bet the next lot of students were bored to tears when I advised on keeping it simple and not too detailed.
If you’ve been following my posts you will see that art is my thing. I didn’t get dad’s excellence in music. That’s OK. It took a couple of years though to come to that conclusion.
I was given my first guitar by a flatmate of mine years ago. I felt like ‘the cats pyjamas’. The thing was I really didn’t have a clue. D A G was about the size of it. I was strumming while ’round the campfire or impressing my young nephew with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I am even horrified to admit I took said guitar on a holiday to India. My poor fellow travellers.
Cringe factor aside what the experience did show me is that I love guitars. They’re very cool. They can be your muse.
When I was a kid in primary school you would get the ruler over your knuckles for being left handed. I was left handed. I was constantly drawing in the margin of my school books so lots of rapped knuckles! School wasn’t my finest hour but it didn’t stop my doodling. If anything I found solace there.
Don’t let your creations go to waste. Take your first step in turning doodles into artworks that you can proudly sell and display.
Collect your doodles in a scrapbook.
When you run out of ideas go through your doodle scrapbooks.
Don’t expect work you produce to be your usual style.
This is how I went about getting published on a charity Christmas Card.
I love how kids play dress ups. We used to have stage shows on the back patio when I was a kid. That was the impetus. With dad being a classical pianist I thought a Christmas Conductor was a nice touch.
Christmas in Australia is just a little different from the northern hemisphere. It’s hot! I wanted something that had an Australian feel. Thats why my Christmas Conductor in the final illustration is wearing shorts.
Found old appliances on holidays up the coast at the in-laws beach shack. I remember this style of toaster. It wasnt automatic. You opened each side holding the black handle to put your bread in. It toasted one side. You then opened it again to turn the bread around to toast the other side. So old school. It made the best crumpets.
That cord was removable. Look at the size of it. It was good though cause you could pull it out and then shake out the bread crumbs in the garden.
Appliance – A thing that helps with household tasks. Some examples: toaster, electric jug, blender.
Beach shack – A type of small house. Usually people speak of a beach shack with fondness in Australia. It would be very small, would have old furniture, and be easy to clean out the sand.
Toast – Cook bread so it looks brown and crunchy
Crumpet – Similar to toast but much thicker. People eat crumpets much like toast with butter and jam or honey.
I’m listening to the chatter on a crowded city train platform. Some lament that even though they have gone to uni they still can’t get a full time job. I like the guy with the glasses on the right as he gazes up the crowded platform to see if what he heard was a train coming. It’s so hard to capture the moment sometimes as people move around the space. My pics are in real time and so very pleased to have listened to the chatter while capturing this.
This sketch was drawn in the afternoon peak while waiting for a train at an underground station at Wynyard in Sydney CBD . It was a connecting train that I was waiting for here. These people, as with me, were making their journey south into the suburbs to places like Hurstville, Kogarah, Sutherland and the like.
Personal space of train travellers. Everyone relaxes into a pose to keep them upright should the train jolt. This guy leans with the right shoulder against the wall with his Hurley backpack.
My sketches are done then and there. No photos are taken. This means that you generally have to expect that the subject will be getting off at the next station. This person is at the door. The next station is 2 minutes away. So glad I was able to catch that hunkered look. I find that characteristic in a few of my sketches. Love it.