art4you Scotland

Visual Diary

  • It is February – have you started something new or restarted something again. Did you make any New Year resolutions? If you keep just one resolution this year make it the sketchbook habit.

    Drawing has this ability to commit an image to the brain, which stays there forever. It is because of the intense concentration that one goes through in the process of drawing. Drawing is a wonderful way to convert ideas into a form that people can understand.

    Observation and practice
    Learning to draw is learning to see more clearly, and to understand what one is looking at. Many people spend their whole lives with their eyes open but not really seeing anything in the way that an artist is. The brain has the capacity to record and store thousands of images once it has been trained. By starting to observe your surroundings carefully the brain will start to understand, and drawing will improve. To improve takes practice – a lot of practice.

    The diary
    There are many sketchbooks to choose from. We suggest a hardbound, plain paper book, A4. They feel good, look good and will last. This book is for you, your practice and observation. There is no judgement just observation and learning. Look carefully at as many styles of drawings as possible. See how the Masters used their drawings to plan and discover. Study different styles, and practise by coping some of the best drawings.
    Resolve now to do at least one drawing a day to record something of what you have seen. Title the drawing, date it and make any other notes on or under it that will help you remember the occasion. This diary will help you remember every day of your life through these drawings.

    Some tips

    • think about how you are holding the pencil or pen, try various positions
    • Keep scribbling light, faint lines roughly where you think they should be until the correct shapes appear
    • try contour drawing focusing on the outline of the object / the negative shapes between or behind the objects
    • good style is important, consider every inch of your lines and make them interesting
    • try drawing is charcoal – a bit messy but the feel of it on the surface is a delight