Thursday, September 5, 2019

My #SketchbookRedrawChallenge Project, Care to Join Me?

©2019 Suzanne Urban Art
When I view the gorgeous sketchbooks of other artists I feel bad, my sketchbooks reveal the recordings of an impatient person, not thoughtful journals carefully dileneating a day spent at a cafe, or museum or on a train. My sketchbooks have tons of linear drawings some upside down, others sideways, some inked in, mostly grey pencil.

It's time to change this.

Since the pages of my sketchbooks are disorganized, I realized this haphazard method didn't allow me to methodically build my drawing repertoire of subjects and things. My strength is characters, but I need to draw more houses, trees, flora and environments.  A lot of illustrators I know don't keep a sketchbook because they're busy with commissioned work, when they draw, it's a preliminary drawing for a finished product, not a study. And some, like myself had an off-site day job for years around the commissioned-freelance work, and some have families, so taking time to record doodles, life observations or a study from a picture is a challenge.

I think with the advent of computer use creating art the old analog way i.e. picking up a pen or pencil to draw, fell to the wayside. Many artists now draw on their iPad with Procreate, something I'd like to try, but is the physical act of drawing on paper different from the digital? I suspect it might be, watching artists sketch on Procreate in Youtube videos visually bothers me, the act is so rapid there's no texture, no erasing a mistake and starting over, no tactile engagement with instrument and paper and no serendipitous accidents.  I'd rather stroll through a museum or sit on a park bench with my sketchbook than an iPad, but for sketches destined to be printed on a product for my ETSY store, I really like the idea of giving Procreate a try.

However, now I don't want to be so busy that I can't take some time to crack open a book to a new blank page. Drawing in a sketchbook is relaxing, engaging, fun even if at first I feel uninpired or fearful of a lousy output. I recently picked up a new book at Jerry's Artarama, and already this book has a methodical theme as I promised myself to stay focused. I also need to make more space in my studio so I'm cutting out old sketches from past books pasting them in this one and re-drawing them, the old book will be tossed. I call this my #SketchbookRedrawChallenge. Since it's my characters that I love to create, I'm able to follow through consistently, something that's so important for this artist with some Attention Deficit Issues.  But the next book? Well that book I'd like to be more of a recorder of daily excursions. I've always wanted to visit the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and draw from some of the best masters. Hmmm, that's a start.

If you out there reading this would like to join in a #SketchbookRedrawChallenge use the hashtag and post to your Instagram feed, I'd love to see your work.

Youtube has a lot of videos of artists sharing their sketchbooks, bravely putting it out there for all to see. I find spending an evening, AFTER I've sketched in my own book quite inspiring. Here's some of my favorite videos:

Danny Gregory
Danny's journey to becoming an artist is fascinating, he started with a blog that led to published = books and now he's teaching online in Sketchbook Skool.

Emily Artful doesn't mince words, and as young as she is, she has a lot to say. She is hilarious and I think of her videos as part daily sketch in action and part stand up.

Fran's was the first Illustrator vlog I discovered, and I'm hooked. Her daily excursions and studio goings on never fail to bore. Fran is my inspiration to branch out and sketch in public, something I haven't done in years. I feel Fran brings a European sensibility to everything she does. I like that.

Another funny artist, with sensible insights to improving a sketch, her deadpan sense of humor keeps you coming back for more, as well as watching how she builds a drawing from start to finish.

Mary Doodles
Mary is funny, bubbly and is one of the first illustrators to start up a vlog I believe. Her enthusiasm beckons you to try some of her drawing experiments.

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