Sunday, December 31, 2017

Two Tips; No Philosophy

12/17/17 The braid of a young woman sitting in front of me on the bus.
No inspiration here, just practice, captured because I had a sketchbook handy.
Today is the last day of my fourth consecutive year of sketching daily. My year-end tradition is to write a retrospective about what Ive learned from my daily-drawing commitment, being mindful, forming a habit, etc. But I did such an overly thorough job of it with my three-part series in September that I have nothing left to say! (Aren’t you relieved? 😉)

Well, almost nothing. Instead of waxing philosophical, I’ll offer just two practical suggestions to people who want to draw more and draw regularly:

  • Carry a small sketchbook with you always. No exceptions. You’ve heard this suggestion countless times from many people, I’m sure, and it’s a good one. You never know when the smallest, most insignificant thing will give you an opportunity to practice. Notice I didn’t say the smallest, most insignificant thing that might inspire you – this has nothing to do with inspiration; it’s about practice.
  • Use whatever sketching tool you are most comfortable with. Recently I overheard a conversation in which a new sketcher asked someone, “I noticed that lots of urban sketchers use Lamy fountain pens . . . should I get one? I’ve never used a fountain pen before, but it must be the best pen for sketching or something . . .?” I would never recommend to someone who has never used a fountain pen to use one as they begin their sketching adventure. Anytime you use a medium you are not familiar with, you are trying to learn to use the tool at the same time that you are trying to learn a whole new skill set. Drawing is challenging enough; why complicate it? Just use the thing you are already comfortable with so you can focus on sketching.

Happy New Year!


  1. Amen to your 'use the tool you know' tip. I'll add that just because a tool is named often on the internet doesn't make it 'best'.

    1. Exactly! Wish I had a quarter for every time the Lamy was mentioned. ;-) Happy New Year, Larry!


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