Working Through

Well, I’m sleep-deprived yet again, and I wanted to tackle some weaknesses that I’ve been developing.

I didn’t get a ton of drawing time today, and I don’t have the energy to do it anyway, so I used today to focus on a specific area of the body — the torso.

As someone somewhere once said — if you’re having trouble drawing something…draw 100 of those things. I started that process with the torso today.

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Two “Off” Days

The past two days have been incredibly “off” art-wise. I’ve still DONE the drawing time, but I’m not especially happy with the results.

I’m still working my way through the FORCE studies, trying to move from copies to practical practice, but I can’t seem to translate the ideas that I’m learning from Mattesi to my own gestures.

To the best of my reasoning, I think he has developed (through repetition and study) a shorthand mental-visual library that he’s able to access very quickly in his gesture drawings. So I tried slowing down and looking at the lines he decides to put on the page, to “read” his “handwriting” as it were.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I’m going to develop a similar visual library to his is to study his anatomy books (or develop my own shorthand visual library from other resources like Steve Huston, Nicolaides, Michael Hampton, Proko, Watts, etc.), practice very slowly, then practice as fast as I can with the shapes and lines that I enjoy the most.

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Rhythm and Purpose

Nicolaides’ The Natural Way to Draw is really pushing me outside of my comfort zone with the blind contours. The results are always interesting to me, though. Looking at where the lines end up can be surprising in both good and bad ways.

But…creating art is a never-ending experiment. And the finished drawing is always a new result that you can learn from. For instance — I’m not incredibly good at blind contours, so I see a weakness I can start attacking.

I followed up my contour drawing by cracking open FORCE by Mike Mattesi again, and this time…I’m trying something that I haven’t done in a while. I’m reading the book, and copying the drawings in the book as I go. I usually try to read the book and apply the principles with original sketches, but I used to copy instructional work a LOT.

And you know what? Approaching it like this has been really useful. Not because I’m copying — because I’m still trying to think about everything I’ve learned from other sources as I draw. This has been useful because I’m looking at the art and trying to think about WHY he drew things a certain way, based on the reading.

After I think about the big why I start to try drawing with the same intention as the instructor. Not copying what he did exactly, but copying why he did it.

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Go Back to Sleep

Strange day — the day after Father’s Day. I woke up and felt like I’d been hit by a metaphorical bus. I hadn’t managed to get enough sleep, and the sleep I DID get was restless.

Today isn’t a performance day, though, so I could afford to go back to sleep. And I needed to, but I still toyed with the idea of staying awake. My amazing wife settled that dispute and SENT me back to bed, like one of our kids. And she was right to do so.

I have time. So do you. Go back to sleep. You’ll feel better.

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Compounding Catharsis

I love the feeling of “flow.”

When you lose track of time, push yourself really hard, and while the work is still challenging, you start to solve problems on what feels like autopilot.

It’s an amazing feeling, and I wish everyone would experience it. Sadly, not everyone does. They find their soothing moments in television or drugs. I find my catharsis by working on something that I love to do.

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A New Approach

I finally moved on to Nicolaides’ version of gesture drawing from The Natural Way to Draw today — and I really enjoyed it. It’s much more energetic than I’m used to drawing gestures, and I feel like I managed to make some really good marks on the page, even though they’re a bit messy compared to what I usually do.

Just being able to let the gesture flow out of my arm based on what I was “feeling” in the gesture was an incredibly interesting exercise.

I also started a new graphite piece, but didn’t make enough progress on it to post anything worthwhile.

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Art Management

Working on projects for clients can take up more time than you expect. At least it has for me over the past week. I have yet to miss a day of art-making, but the home stretch of the commissions ate up more time than I thought it would.

Fortunately, I’ve finished the first round of private commissions and actually made the time for a bit of practice today instead of working exclusively on a finished product.

Back to the drawing board. 🙂

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