Mystery Monday: Nature Drawing

One of my favorite pastimes when I’m in camp or at the lake is to sit and sketch. I did take a lot of art in school but I’m far form a professional artist by any means. I just have always enjoyed drawing!

Sketch 1

Pencil and watercolors

Sketching is a low-cost hobby, it’s highly portable and people think you’re totally cool. When Jessica and I stopped in Jerome the last time, we literally sat on the roadside and drew buildings. I think we had three different groups of people stop by to tell us that they thought it was totally cool we were sketching and to express the wish that they had artistic ability.

Jessica Sketching

She's leaning against a traffic barrier!

And I’m here to tell you: talent has NOTHING to do with nature drawing!

Because the act of sketching is a lot like fishing: you do it to enjoy the process, not to guarantee you have dinner!

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1. Gather your supplies

Personally, I use a Mead Academie Wirebound Sketch Book. It is spiral bound but has perforated edges, is inexpensive and the paper holds up even to water colors. And as for supplies, frankly, I think Crayola does a GREAT job. I recommend getting colored pencils and water color paints to start out with and then move on to chalk or oil pastels. You can get really brave and get water-soluble colored pencils or oil pastels.

drawing supplies

Sketchbook, pencils (colored and just grey), a pencil sharpener and a good eraser are enough to get me started.

2. Find something to draw

This can be as complex as a landscape or as simple as a flower. Spend some time really LOOKING at your subject. If you were going to just draw an outline, what would it look like? What colors are there?

3. Always use a blank sheet

It’s terrible to have a really great sketch sharing the page with something that can only be called a doodle at best. I also recommend starting as close to the middle of the page as possible as well. It’ll give you the maximum room to spread the subject matter across the page.

4. Jump in and get started

Just pick a spot and get started. The middle or the top; bottom up or from the lower right corner, it doesn’t really matter. Just get pencil to paper and start the sketch.

5. Get over yourself already!

If you ask a 5 year old if she can sing, she’ll ALWAYS say “Yes!” It doesn’t mean she’s going to be the next Taylor Swift however. But she understands that she has the ability to sing. And you have the ability to draw. Enjoy yourself and enjoy a new way to capture memories. And for all you parents out there: it will demonstrate to your kids in a powerful way that you are creative and enjoy taking the time to really LOOK at something.

Further Ideas

  • Date your sketches. I also try to include the place and who I was with.

    Flowers

    I was at White Horse Lake, Aug 2010.

  • Take a photo of your subject. You might want to finish the sketch later or just have a good giggle as to how your sketch looks nothing like what you were drawing!

    Flowers

    This was my inspiration for the flowers above.

  • You can choose what to include and what to leave out. Feel free to add details that aren’t really there or remove aspects that you don’t want to draw or find unattractive. It’s like instant Photoshop.

    This is the inspiration for the sketch at the top of the post. You'll notice I chose not to include all the foreground or even all the trees. And see the branches hanging into view in the upper lef? Yeah, I "Photoshopped" that right out!

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with techniques and drawing tools. Yes, watercolors make my paper wrinkle but I LOVE working with the paint.
  • Corral all your supplies in a tote so when the mood strikes you don’t need to go hunting for your favorite eraser.

And if you want to learn more about Jessica, head over to her blog: http://www.SeeJessBake.com

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One Response to “Mystery Monday: Nature Drawing”

  • I like the simplicity of your sketches. Of course, I have yet to see more of them in your blog. I think that even one is not really an artist, he/she can still attempt to do this. After all, we all have our own interpretation of beauty.

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