Because of the gift of a sketchbook, I discovered a way of drawing that you might enjoy. The particular sketchbook isn’t necessary, but does present its own challenges and rewards. The real point is continuous drawing.
Dedicate an appropriate-sized sketchbook to the project and then dedicate a subject area. It could be:
- the flowers blooming today in your garden — not ALL the flowers but those you choose to draw THIS day
- The rooftops of each town you visit as you drive through ______ (fill in the blanks for Italy or Provence or where you are planning to visit)
- The flowers on your dining table each day (or each week)
The first drawing series (in a continuous acordion-folded sketchbook) I did was of a short vacation my husband Jeffrey and I took to the south coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This was the gift sketchbook with continuous pages. I did a drawing or two each day. They achieved a continuous look by keeping the horizon at the same level throughout.
The next was a smaller book but since I filled both sides, it was longer. It started with a wet cold spring, 2014, nothing blooming, tight buds on the apple tree. It moved through daffodils, tulips, table bouquets, with a check back at the the same branch of the apple tree each week or so. It continued as the weather got warmer through geraniums, lilies and begonias. And from buds through blossoms to fruit. Each was a simple contour drawing. Taking the time to pause, look and draw was its own reward.
Then in the summer of 2014 I decided I would draw the west side of our island on one side of a new continuous sketch book. Turn the corner on the page that turns and draw the north side on the back.
This project was cut short by a broken arm but last summer (2015), I spent delightful hours drifting in my boat, drawing the two sides of the island.
I changed scale. I skipped some parts and focused more on others. It became a way of getting to know a place I had thought I knew well in a richer way.
One morning on my way to teach a class on Orcas, I discovered if I stopped rowing I could drift on the outgoing tide at a speed perfect for drawing the shore I was passing. Coming back that afternoon with and incoming tide, I drifted the same area in reverse.
Each day I left an hour early and drew, drifting, the shore with the tide out. Each day on the way home I filled in the forest above the rocks which now were under water with the incoming tide.
I made it to the pivotal point by the end of the week. Each day I arrive at class happy and relaxed. Each late afternoon I arrived home happy.
What I remember most about the experience was the peace – being quiet, looking, drawing what was in front of me, drawing closer to nature.
I have a new one and I have decided to work my way down our property between our house and the shore. We’ll see how I put together THAT challenge.
I want to suggest that you choose a place to draw- your garden, your vacation, your windowsill behind the sink — and start a continuous drawing (whether or not you get the Japanese Album) book. You can do it simply by turning the page.
If you go to Moleskine you can see the sketchbooks. Or ask for a Japanese Album by Moleskine at your favorite art supply house. I used the smaller size for the flowers, and the larger ones for the other projects.
Want some help with drawing? You can look at the watercolor sketching course offered this summer. We use lots of drawing styles, do lots of on-location work. You would find the techniques very useful for this kind of drawing, particularly how to use it on vacation.
Or just go on out and start drawing. I’d love to hear about it.