Friday, June 13, 2014

Simply Sketching

When I was a kid I used to watch my Dad sketch in a notebook that was always lying on the coffee table. This was usually on a Monday or Tuesday night because that would be the only times my parents would stay home from the club.

He would sketch all sorts of things. Things he saw in front of him (the TV, the cat, a glass or cup or even us) - he also made used to chew bits of paper and mould them into tiny goblets which he would throw onto the ceiling where they would stick upside down).  They weren't bad and it wasn't long before I started doing the same thing.  

He showed me how to draw a person by sketching ovals for each part of the body and limbs. I struggled with drawing faces and especially eyes but I loved drawing hands. Hands drawing hands drawing hands drawing hands.  In fact I made that my fourth form (Year 10 for you younger readers) end of year art assignment. Along with a painting of a photograph of my mother as a small child posing with her big brother for a professional photographer.  It wasn't very good but I still have it and every time it is brought out to be moved to another house I am reminded that no matter how many times I tried, I could not get those faces right. My wonderful art teacher, Mrs Whitehead, ended up painting their faces for me.

For a few years after I left school I still dabbled in sketching, even doing a few life drawing classes with my Dad (he was besotted with the French teacher).  But the most recent sketching I did was at my sister-in-law's hens night a few years ago where, among other activities, there was a nude sketching session.  I forgot all about the young and muscle bound model reclining on the pub's lounge and the giggling women sitting alongside me and was totally immersed in getting those curvy lines just right (along with some dark shadows in the appropriate tiny undies area).

But recently I felt inspired to pick up the pencil again after reading a story in my favourite magazine, Renegade Collective, about a gallery/library in New York called The Sketchbook Project. 

What a great idea!  I would love to go to New York (well, yeah, duh!) and visit this place.  I could spend hours just browsing through those wonderful books. But I will have to be satisfied with the Digital Library on their website.

So tonight, after I had poured myself a glass of wine and ate some pizza, I picked up a notebook and did a little sketching. Nothing fantastic but just stuff I could see around me - my dog, a couple of photos on the wall - and I quite enjoyed it.  I could see the purpose of the simple pleasure of using the other side of your brain to doodle aimlessly.

tonight's sketch - from top left: photo of daughter, sleeping Sydney, flower scribbled over a face which went wrong, photo of Mum and Dad kissing, my glass of wine (green bits are embedded in the handmade paper, flowers I think)
I think I'll do it more often.

What's your simple pleasure?


  1. I like doing a bit of doodling, too, even though I'm really bad at it. It definitely helps you access another part of your brain and the insights that can come out of it, can be surprising.

  2. I love sketching too. I've always been a doodler, and I used to draw pictures for my kids to colour in when they were little. But your post makes me realise I haven't done any real sketching for a long time, though my drawing box with all the implements is right by my desk. I think I will take it up again! It certainly is relaxing. Thank you for this!
    I like your couple hugging - the angle of her head is perfect.


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