Deciding to take the bull by the proverbial horns, I enrolled in a few of the online classes on Craftsy. I have used them for a number of other courses, such as sewing or photography, and really enjoy their format. Demonstrations which are practical, well presented, and make sense are worthwhile. Online streaming format, without limitation (once bought), is another advantage – you can watch, play, replay, go away, and revisit. I really like Craftsy for this one reason. So, I enrolled in a drawing class called See Better, Draw Better: Exercises for Beginners by Kateri Ewing, and a couple by Shari Blaukopf on Sketching with Pen and Ink – one for landscapes, and one for cityscapes.
I am alternating between the drawing class and the sketching landscape classes. I have my chrome book, pens, paper, ink, water, coffee, and watercolors, and who knows what else. I am using one notebook – it’s a standard sketchbook, so the paper is thin – and taking notes and playing with the exercises as we move along. I have also been doing some sketching while listening to an audiobook. The watercolor studies are essentially play – not serious – because I do things as Blaukopf moves along in her class. I want to see her class almost completely before I really do anything on watercolor paper, whereas the drawing class is easier to play and do some “serious” stuff as it moves along.
I’ve doodled with drawing throughout the years, but never really focused on drawing in the way Ewing presents it. She uses 3 pencils – 6H, 4B, and HB. She also explains the differences between willow and vine charcoal, which I never thought of. As well, she discusses hatching, cross-hatching, broken lines, stippling, and other techniques for texture. I never thought of drawing in the direction of the shape of an object. She has you begin with gestural drawings and them move onto the shading techniques and so on. I’m surprised at what I have been able to do – as you can see below!
From the gestural drawings, she moves into shape and shadow to give volume – light and dark.
And then, I’ve been sketching in between.
As I said, I am moving through the watercolor / pen / ink classes differently. I want to focus more on listening, and observing, and hoping that the drawing class will help with my ongoing issue of contrast and value and tone. The pencil pictures are helping a lot already, but the real key will be painting. Below are some sketches made from the landscape class and done on non-watercolor paper, just to show some of the stuff I’ve been playing with.
My problem is a lack of time. Work and life get in the way. Still, it’s wonderful to feel the focus of drawing and painting and thinking I just might, just might, be able to do something worthwhile!