Saturday, December 10, 2011

Start of a 75 Day Sketch Challenge

I've recently discovered Brenda Swenson's blog and I really love the pen and watercolor style she uses in her sketchbooks. And the color! I am so inspired by her work (as well as other's such as Cathy Johnson, Leslie Fehling, Elizabeth Smith, and Susan Cornelis), I now realize that I want to channel much of my painting energy into sketchbooks more than stand-alone paintings. One of the issues I've had about painting is the growing stack of paintings on my closet shelf--somehow I'd much rather have a growing stack of completed sketchbooks, especially from my travels (but also from other elements of my life)! The idea of the sketchbook really attracts me now and gives me a better "place" to put my painting practice.

But I need to learn to draw better. I have a confession...I often work by tracing a print-to-size photograph onto my watercolor paper (using a lightbox) and painting from there. I'd usually rather paint than draw, mostly because I don't think I draw all that well. But can't I change that with practice, practice, practice? I believe so!

So when I read about Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Sketch Challenge, I figured, why not? I intended to practice painting in my sketchbooks anyway, why not rise to a more structured challenge? Well, it's not that structured. There are really only two rules: 1) Do a sketch every day for 75 consecutive days, and 2) Do these sketches in ink, not pencil. Brenda's experience doing this has shown her that such an endeavor has made a huge difference for her artwork. I believe I too can improve this way, and hopefully get more confident about my drawing!

So there is no better time than the present--here is a photo of my first sketch, of the back of my home, in my Pentalic Nature Sketch Journal, using a Pigma Micron pen, Niji waterbrush, and watercolor paints:

It's got issues, but not bad for my first! I plan to continue the practice (but I won't burden this blog with daily updates) and hope to get better!

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