Who’s afraid of the big bad pencil? Throw that pencil in the trash! Using 6 different, creative types of tools can build your confidence, conquer the nerves, create a happier more relaxed you. That means better drawings!
Ever think ‘I can’t draw a straight line?’ Or, my lines go jerky and crooked?
There are a couple reasons for that. When the arm is not relaxed, the wrist creates mini micro jerks that are reflected in the pencil line.
Secondly, when trying to do a longer line vs shorter, the longer is not as straight. A little secret I learned is that by making a series of shorter lines, almost dots, I can create a nearly perfect straight line!
But first things first. We really need to loosen up, be free, relax that arm!
Ditch the pencil. Conditioned by years of holding the pencil in a set and perfect manner, i.e. perfectionism, we find it near impossible to break the habit. Any type of thin pencils or pens will provoke this conditioning. (watercolour pencils, pastel pencils, etc.) So, shift to something different.
6 Drawing Ideas
- Draw a shape, say a bottle or vase, flower with a wet brush. Then, pour or drip some ink or paints into the wet lines created by the brush. Tilt the paper slightly to allow gravity to help move the inks in a downward flow. The Blue bottles image was done in this technique.
2. Draw onto large pieces of old newspapers, cardboard, brown craft paper, ‘repurposed’ gift wrapping paper, etc. This can help loosen you up to create bolder lines, giving a stronger dynamic design. Often, we just don’t like to “waste” paper!
3. Use Lithography crayons to draw with. They create a deep velvet black tone and can be smudged and lightened into a full range of tonal values. They are meant for printmaking, but I also love them to just draw with.
4. Draw onto dampened tinted paper using a big soft chunk of charcoal. Use gloves if you don’t like messy hands. When charcoal is applied onto dampened areas it ‘bleeds’ a bit, and settles into the paper’s grooves to create more texture. Plus if you tilt the paper up the charcoal sediment tends to flow downwards.
5. Draw with a white pastel and medium grey pastel onto a black paper. This approach allows you to see the tonal contrasts of light, mid, dark very clearly. Or if you prefer use a chocolate brown paper with burnt sienna pastel and yellow ochre pastel to create those 3 tones as well.
6. Graphite powder is fantastic as a drawing tool. Rub it in all over the paper in a mid tone. Use a cotton cloth, cotton ball or tissue. To regain the Light tones, use an eraser to ‘wipe back’ the lights. For the darkest tones, apply denser amounts of graphite. This medium will give a lovely atmospheric, soft edged, almost surreal feel to the drawings.
You will notice that these all involve big, chunky media. They all are a “hands on” kind of technique that involves the entire arm, not – just the wrist. Wrist movement only, will tighten you up, create stiff, rigid drawings. Drawings done by using the whole arm will create wonderfully free, gestural, rich, expressive drawings.
- Forego erasers. Make use of those ‘oops’ lines created, just like the Masters did!
- Pre – Draw the image in your mind’s eye beforehand, it makes it much easier.
- Start off with simple scenes of 3 objects/shapes; progress to 5, then 7, then 9, etc.
- Don’t rush yourself, Build Yourself!
- As a natural byproduct of practicing the above methods, drawing skills improve.
- Its imperative for better drawing, improved drawing, to be more relaxed.
The beginner’s first order of business, really, is to overcome the nerves and the years of “pencil conditioning.”
All the drawing ideas I’ve listed, I have used in my workshops and classes to assist in the initial stages of drawing.
Observation will be the next major door to open and walk through. To learn to sit and see what is really there, to jot down notes on paper or mentally. To mentally determine rough proportions and distances, in estimates.
Observing subjects and scenes in terms of Shapes i.e. sphere, cube, cylinder, cone, and in terms of Tonal values i.e. light, mid, dark. These are major elements to the drawing process as well. After, the beginner starts to loosen up, relax and actually have some fun with drawing!