looking at things differently…

This is a pretty primitive sketch. Its mine, from a few years ago. I am actually really proud of it. It was a real break through for someone like me, who never, ever thought they could draw any real object.

You might think I have got better since then, but I confess I haven’t actually improved much. I still try to sketch, even though I am unhappy with the outcome. I would rather write about it, photograph it, even paint it in an abstract manner…anything but sit and actually sketch something…so, why do I do it? I do it because I believe that the more you sketch, the more you see, the better you get at looking, really observing the world around you in detail. When was the last time you actually just stopped and really focused on one thing?

The trick with sketching is to really just not look at the paper at all (which is very hard), and instead trust your hand to follow what your eye sees. Start with something simple like a mug or a table or a leaf or a vase…just look at the shape, the shadows, the lines, and then… really look again…did you notice that the teacup sitting on the table actually looks curved at the bottom, even though you have probably drawn it straight where it meets the table..thats your brain being rational and over-riding your eyes….we want the opposite effect! We want our hands to draw what our eyes actually see.

The other problem can be that perfectionists/artists hate anything that we don’t think is perfect, so sketches that don’t make the grade (i.e most of them) are tossed aside quickly into the “best forgotten about” pile of memories. Thats a real pity. Its only by reviewing what we have done and comparing it to the recent work, that we can see how far we have progressed. Sketches of your yesterday may show up as technically flawed, naive, simple even in comparison to later works, but perhaps they are more honest, more raw, more earnest? Or maybe they show how much you have grown in your observation skills and drawing techniques…maybe they are freer, less rules based and more observational than ever before?
Only you know…but sketch if you are an artist. Even if you show no-one.

Learning to draw/sketch is about learning to see, to observe, to understand the world around us.


About Angela Sefton

Painting…photography…mixed media…print making….design…journaling…writing…creating in stunning Taranaki by the wild west coast and a stunning mountain backdrop, with my four gorgeous (make that cute, but messy!) kids, my partner GB, and one very large fat cat. View all posts by Angela Sefton

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