What would I do if I were you?- tricksheet to get efficient with drawing
When we see artworks made by an artist and if it has you looking at it for about 15 seconds, you are bound to question yourself ‘Boy, how was this made?’. I’ve been posting all my work on Instagram, from watercolor sketches to random doodles to charcoal sketches in the recent time. Reason being, to establish a conversation with the people who are viewing it and to share with them the joy that art brings to our life. One question which I’m asked almost every time I post something is ‘How do you make what you make?’ and ‘What would we do if we were you, Aishwarya?’
Every person has their journey, for that to begin you need to initiate the practice. In this blog, I’ll be sharing the processes involved in my journey which has helped me explore different mediums, styles, improving observations and drawing skills. Here I am telling you ‘What would I do if I were you?’
There’s a reason why we scribbled with a wax crayon in our hand on to a sheet when we were kids, it’s our brain trying to convey what it sees through the medium by our hand.
When we scribble, we help our limbs develop the motor sense i.e.; providing our hand and elbow the flexibility to make confident, bold strokes.
It even helps us develop the sense of the application of pressure and translation skills (drawing what you observe in real life on the paper.)
2. Experimenting with different mediums
People ask me, ‘Hey, what’s the best medium to start from? How did you start?’ , I’d say, do you remember asking yourself as a child which medium to start off with? Answer is, NO. You’ll pick a crayon or a pencil and start making anything on the wall.
If you’ve been keeping track of my posts on Instagram, you’d see how it started off from ink sketches going to watercolor then to charcoal to digital illustrations and back to charcoal. I’ve tried my hands with a variety of mediums. On days when I didn’t have my watercolor palette, I’ll dip my brush in coffee concoction and paint my heart out.
Pick what you’re attracted to. Parallel to choosing a medium do make sure practicing sketching with a pencil or pen every day, doodling what you see in a sketchbook or a piece of paper.
3. Eraser is not your friend
The Eraser is never a friend, it erases the path you drew and hence making you forget where you went wrong. Make those inaccurate shapes confidently; make them till you get the desired shape. Use your pencil with a light hand pressure and once you get it correct, draw it with a bold stroke.
4. Achieve a variety of tints and shades by one pencil
It’s always good to win the fight with a single sword than to hold up to the weight of other weapons. Pencils come in a variety of grades depending on the hardness or softness of the graphite in it, we feel that to make a sketch with varying tones and shades we’d need to all those grades. Trust me, one HB or 2B pencil can give you the spectrum of all grades together. Try using a single pencil and start of a scribble path with a light pressure proceeding to a gradual increase in pressure and ending it with a strong pressure of the hand on the pencil.
5. Study objects and landscapes
A part of my daily practice has always been to sketch people, places, landscapes and objects that surround me at a given moment. Observational sketching is the best way to improve your sense of proportion, scale, visual judgement of light and shadow.
I carry an A5 sketchbook and pencil everywhere I go. Whenever I have few minutes between my work, classes or even when I’m hanging out with someone at a coffee shop, guess what? I’ll sketch. So the next time you’re out somewhere, sketch that traffic light, sketch the cup of coffee kept in front of you, make that pigeon staring right into your face, sketch what you see.
6. Study Human Figures
Now you’d be thinking why am I writing specifically about studying human figures while I just wrote about it above? Thing is, while landscapes and objects might be in front of you for a longer duration, humans in real time environment are constantly moving. So challenge yourself and try capturing different human figurines in your sketchbook till the end up moving and your sketch time is busted!
This will help you improve your observation skill, capturing the essence of the pose seen and capturing it as quick as possible. I remember sketching people in my class back in my architecture days, sketching a middle aged woman dozing off in the metro or sketching the chai waala while grabbing a quick chai outside college.
7. Beat time!
Most of my quick sketches are captioned with the time duration they were made in, such as: 30 seconds, 15 seconds or 1 minute. I challenge myself to sketch what I see in a given slot of time to push myself to capture a whole scene or pose in a few strokes such that the viewer is able to understand what I drew. The more quick sketches you’ll do the more your sensory-motor skills will improve, the wrist will become more flexible and you’d be able to critique yourself if you got it right or not.
I hope this tricksheet helps you,, don't forget to keep tracking your works by posting them or at least clicking them as a photo record. It will show you how you have improved! So pour your he(art) out!