Tag Archives | Learn to Draw

A Quick and Simple way to Unlock your Creativity

OK – You can start with a £1 sketch book and a 4b pencil.

Yes that’s it, starting on the path to learn a new and valuable skill, can be Quick and Simple!

Sketching with a pen

Sketching with a pen

Unlike other skills such as music, you don’t need to start with a one to one tutor, or even an art class. You can start like I did, with a cheap sketchbook and a pencil. You will need to get into the habit of carrying it with you always, so you can sketch anything you like, in all those brief moments between meetings, while waiting for a bus, waiting for people, just sitting at home in your lounge, there are a thousand items to sketch, without leaving your sofa. A small A6 sized sketchbook will fit in your pocket and will hardly be noticed in a cafe or on the train. Do you get what I’m saying.

Of course, once you do acquire the sketching habit, you will naturally want to learn more techniques and get some useful tips. You will also notice quite quickly that by really looking at things properly, like an artist does, your friends will start to admire your work, and wonder “where that skill came from”. No longer will you have to hide your sketchbooks for fear of ridicule. I’m deadly serious here – your life will improve through the unlocking of your own creativity. This is exactly how I learnt to Draw and went on to Sell my Paintings.  So what if I said you can have my Ten Top Tips – Learning to Draw for FREE – does that sound good! OK! Click Here  or in the box below to get the Pdf file link, so you can save or print it.

News from the Studio

I have become an art teacher!  Did I hear you gasp? Well I recently planned and delivered my first Six Session Course on How to Draw – from the beginning! I received thirty five applications for twelve places.

I was never a ‘teacher’ in my earlier ‘pre artist’ life, but of course I have always enjoyed helping and encouraging people to achieve what they thought impossible and so I suppose the planning and presentation were not new to me.

I am delighted that my students wanted to be shown where to start on the path of learning to draw, and that they listened carefully and responded well to my suggestions and tips, so that when the six sessions ended and we looked back through our sketchbooks, everyone had made real improvements and they could clearly see their own progress.

I think I learned as much as they did and I now know how to structure my next course which will be designed to take them to the next level. Watch this space.

Al Fresco – En Plein Air – Urban Sketching – What is this all about?

Regular readers will know that I am never happier than when sitting in the corner of a muddy field or boatyard and sketching or painting from nature, especially if the weather is warm and dry. Some call it Al Fresco, others En Plein Air, and Urban sketching is the newest and latest trend, with groups forming up in big cities and smaller towns all over the world. I recently joined in with the Urban Sketchers Canterbury having found them on Facebook, and even a bitterly cold wind didn’t stop about 40 people turning up and sketching in and around Dane John Park for 2 hours, ending in a local pub to exchange banter and sketchbooks with an occasional drink to keep out the cold. Most enjoyable, and a lovely way to improve your sketching skills. If you put ‘Urban Sketchers’ into Google, you’ll get the idea.

I'm happy when painting

I’m happy when painting

This leads me on to my next challenge. I have been asked to plan a series of Al Fresco painting days for our local Art Society. I decided to go one step further and open it up to anyone who would like to try painting or drawing out of doors on warm and dry days. It starts on 19th May and continues on most Thursday’s until early September.  I prefer to start about 9.30 – 10 am and to reward my ‘hard work’ with coffee or food afterwards, usually about lunchtime. I can’t attend all venues, but others will. Remember this is a self-help group, with no formal leadership or tuition, just a group of friendly people who prefer to work out doors from nature, in good company. You are also invited to visit and join in the conversation in our Facebook Group:  KENT PLEIN AIR PAINTERS.  where all the dates and venues are to be found.

If you live in East Kent and want to improve your sketching or painting – you know what to do!

How to get creative – for less than £5 – I can show you the way!

Every time I go out doors to draw or paint I meet passers by who take a quick furtive look at my work and say “I can’t Draw”  or “I wish I could Draw” or “I can’t draw but I do like Painting”,

my outdoor set up

my outdoor set up

and then they say “It must be so relaxing”! I wouldn’t mind a £1 for every time I’ve heard that. Drawing and Painting can indeed be very theraputic, and can relieve stress and be very relaxing.

What onlookers don’t see is the brain working rapidly to try to decide how to deal with the problems before me, especially when using watercolour, when I need to know how many washes I’ll use, where to place them and which colours I’ll choose, to give a pleasing result, and how I’ll capture the light which is so essential for a successful painting.

Many people don’t realise that being able to draw with confidence is such a useful and valuable skill.

After all, how can a craft that requires only a couple of pencils and a sketchbook or two, costing less than £5 be valuable?

It certainly doesn’t require expensive one to one tuition, or regular lessons, unlike learning to play the piano, or violin, and you don’t even need a piano. So it is hard to understand why more people don’t take up sketching and drawing.

Being able to draw will change your life in unimagined ways – It will teach you to ‘see like an artist’, which is very different from the way most people see things, it will also help you re-appraise the art all around you, and give you the ability to discuss and debate art in a clearer manner. You will be a better communicator, and perhaps more valuable to an employer, as you will notice things others miss. You may choose to go on and learn how to paint, and if you do, your paintings will be more successful than someone who doesn’t draw well.

If you’ve always wanted to draw, but don’t know where to start, let me offer some FREE help. Send for my

Ten Top Tips – Learning to Draw It’ll get you started and will help unlock your hidden creativity.

You can fill in the form on this page,  or read my story here.

Up the creek 1/2 Imp watercolour

Up the creek 1/2 Imp watercolour

I’ve hardly mentioned all the health benefits from improved creativity, such as:

enhanced brain development, being more observant, people with Alzheimers often notice improved memory and recall, benefits from being able to express ones inner thoughts and feelings, it also helps with shyness, autism and self-esteem.  For an excellent discussion of the many health benefits, click here.

News from the Studio

Since Christmas, I have been very busy with several projects which I wish to develop. The first is to paint watercolour landscapes in a more exciting way, on larger paper (1/2 Imperial size) 22″ x 15″ approx. I’m really enjoying this, having put it off for several years, but now I’m hooked. This started when I managed to buy an original Edward Wesson watercolour, and learned that he always worked at this size. Another benefit is that it helps you ‘loosen up’, and become less interested in minute detail, having to use larger brushes and more water.

Another project was to teach my first Drawing class – twelve students in six sessions, and I am really enjoying this, particularly the planning, and preparations, and finding out which ideas work well in class. Later this year I will make this course available on line, so anyone can have a go.

Another project for this summer is to switch from Acrylics to Oils when painting ‘en plein air’ I’ll let you know how this goes next time. Don’t miss it! Meanwhile here are some of my recent works:

Learn to Draw – In easy steps – To impress your friends!

Would you like to learn how to improve your drawing skills?

Shoppers and visitors in Westgate Canterbury

Shoppers and visitors in Westgate Canterbury

I taught myself how to draw, many years ago after realising that my paintings were not improving.

You see, – I had no real urge to draw but just wanted to paint and I was in a hurry!

Does this ring a bell with you?  So I got myself a sketchbook and some pencils and did a little each day, but no more than one and a half hours a week. and it cost me less than £5 to get started.

Looking back now and seeing how popular my paintings have become, I thought it was time to pass on my knowledge so I began to teach small groups at a time, and to help people struggling with various local art projects.

As a result, I produced a FREE document,  “MY 10 TOP TIPS – Learning to Draw”

Have you read it? It is designed to help get you started in the right direction and to get in the habit of drawing ‘little and often’. exactly how I learned. If you complete the box below or in the right column, I’ll send you the link to print off a copy. You will also receive future news about this subject and details of an on line course and You Tube Videos which are planned and coming shortly.

A page from my sketchbook

A page from my sketchbook

Regular readers will wonder where I’ve been, since I last wrote in mid October, Sorry! At least you know I won’t bombard you with too many updates, and I’m happy to hear your views about learning to draw and paint.

Items from the kitchen drawer make good subjects for quick 5 – 10 minute sketches, I drew these in pen and shaded them with a marker pen. Pro Tip: Put a date on your sketchbooks, so you can see your progress over a period of time.

 

Sketching – Why drawing skills are important!

A house built on firm foundations, will last longer and be safer than one with no foundations. Likewise, “drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint”. A quote from A Gorky.

When I got back into the art world from a career in Finance in the City, I was fifty years of age! and I just wanted to take up painting after a gap of about thirty years, so I was in a hurry! After all, “how hard can it be”? to quote a favourite Jeremy Clarkson phrase.

Portrait of Lucien Freud in pencil, from his self portrait.

Lucien Freud from his self portrait drawn in pencil.

I really didn’t want to bother with all that drawing stuff, I just wanted to get on and paint. So that’s what I did, for a few months. I thought – I’m getting on a bit and need to learn fast, if I’m to reach a decent standard. Years before, I had been very involved in musical performance and knew that instrumentalists take about five years, of regular lessons and daily practise to reach a standard acceptable to play with an orchestra. So five years was my target. Oh Boy! How misguided was that. After those first few months, I realised that my lack of drawing skills was letting me down, so I bought some sketch books and started filling them up. I started to enjoy sketching, it wasn’t as boring as I had imagined and soon I was sketching regularly, more than I was painting. In fact, when I look back through the ‘learning pile’, do you have one of those? I realise that I’ve made approx. three sketches for every painting. So my first five year target, came and went and I was still alive and enjoying sketching and painting regularly. It took me a further five years and growing enthusiasm to reach a decent standard of work, which started to sell at exhibitions. Along the way, I’ve met so many people who gave up or changed to a simpler medium, and that only made me more determined to carry on and to attempt difficult subjects. Nowadays my attitude is: If it’s easy – I’ll let someone else do it! If it’s difficult, It’s worth me persevering at it.

A Victorian Conservatory in pen and White Ink

A drawing in pen and white ink – Victorian Conservatory c 1894

After many years that stubborn determination is starting to pay rewards and I am enjoying making art, even more than I ever imagined.

Salvador Dali said about drawing. “Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad”

Shown here, is a pencil sketch of Lucien Freud, the artist, from a photograph of his own self portrait in oils. I found it helpful to work from photos of old master drawings, found in old auction house catalogues and the antiques trade newspaper. Nowadays, the internet has almost endless quantities of copyright free images to work from. My other sketch here, was drawn in white ink on dark green paper, all freehand, from photos I had taken at Forest Hill in South London. Unlike my sketch book sketches, this is a finished work, and is now in my shop / gallery. Click on the photo if you would like to see more details.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please add your comments below or sign up for my newsletter in your inbox, Till next time! Keep sketching.