Drawing

I wrote the text below as a handout for an observational drawing class at The Jerwood Gallery. I wrote it really quickly as a big stream of thoughts about drawing…I think it feels quite real and honest because of this!

Some personal thoughts about drawing from observation 

Every drawing is an experiment- it doesn’t matter at all if the experiment goes wrong so you might as well just throw yourself into it and enjoy it.

Pretend you’re confident whether you are or not.

Please yourself and no-one else. Remember no-one else decides on the rules for your drawing apart from you.

There are absolutely no rules about time, viewpoint or imagination.

You can mix up views as you feel.

You can mix up moments in time as you feel.

You can mix up memories as you feel.

You can mix up reality and imagination as you feel.

Draw without looking at the paper to switch your brain into a fantastic flowing ‘right side of the mind’ kind of experience. Not looking at the paper gets you to really look at the thing you’re drawing rather than worry about how your drawing looks. In my experience, drawing without looking at the paper is the best way to start a drawing session- it gets my brain working in the right way so I can concentrate totally on drawing and forget about everything else.

Rock pool Drawing 1

Hastings Beach Drawing, Rock a Nore, Rockpools

Draw with a continuous line- without stopping or taking your pencil off the paper. Look at the thing your drawing most of the time with little glances at your paper to see how it fits together.

Look at negative space around your subject in relation to the edges of your paper to help you compose your page in a way you like and to get it accurate- if you want to get it accurate!

Measure angles and distances against horizontals and verticals in the environment or using a pencil. You might use this technique to get super-accurate drawings if you like. I use it when I get stuck and can’t measure something by eye.

Your line can be infinitely varied, from tiny barely visible wisps to dense scribble. Experiment and play with this variation however you like- to create perspective, emotion, pattern and to create the magical moment when a drawing feels composed and right.

I find drawing really difficult- I love it because it’s difficult. It’s like a new journey of discovery every time.

rock pool drawing 2

Hastings Beach

Gundestrup 3

Gundestrup Cauldron, British Museum

You can learn the basics of drawing in a day but spend a life time developing these basics in your own drawings. It’s like a composer using 12 simple music notes to write amazing music.

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2 Comments on “Drawing”

  1. Stella Says:

    Really great post. Thank you for sharing your tips 🙂


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