After fixing my pen I got a lot of drawings done and am now nearly finished with my Doodle Book. It is a satisfying book to thumb through because I have been working on it slowly but steadily for months now and the book actually dates back a few years and has some old sketches from back then in it as well. They are so bad! Such bad drawings. I get discouraged drawing easily and often, especially when I look at all the talent and success on Instagram. But all I need to do is look at myself and know that I will get there. I have already come so far. The art on Instagram is super inspiring and I am so glad to be following all these talented artists. But I can't let intimidation rule. Keep going. Keep working hard and I will get where I need to go.
What distracts you from your most important work? What is your time suck? An activity that you pretend is productive but is really just a time wasting time suck. I need to spend some time working on art today in my studio. Often when I am going through a growth period I step back from my sketchbook and focus on shopping for materials. The quest for the perfect materials that will make me a better artist. When really the time to work on art is what matters. The time I spend looking and buying supplies is often a time suck waste. Especially at this point when I pretty much have everything I need. Instead of looking for the perfect colors, the perfect sketchbook or the perfect brush I should draw and paint more. I draw and paint everyday, but if I have time to browse art supplies online I am not drawing or painting enough. Back to painting for me!
This is a weird pen. But $20 for a flex pen with a converter for taking bottled ink I figured it was worth a shot. I got it months ago from Amazon before I had heard of the Goulet Pen Company. If I get another one I will be ordering from Goulet in the future. My pen arrived and the ink flow was too much, too wet and it smeared all over the place. I adjusted the pen and got ink all over the place but the pen worked better when I was done. Then I decided it could be better after watching some videos and reading some pen adjusting tutorials and adjusted it again. Another mess and in the end my pen functioned worse than it did new out of box. I was frustrated and I put the pen aside and started using my Lamy Joy and enjoying how that pen just works without adjustment.
But after a few months I really started to miss that flexible line quality that I can get with the Ahab and nothing else. So I rubbed some Gloves in a Bottle lotion on my hands and adjusted my pen again. Now I love it again and I am not fussing with it anymore! This pen is not an entry fountain pen for novices. That honor belongs hands down to the Lamy Safari, another affordable fountain pen that works straight out of the box and continues to work for many years. But for people who don't mind getting their hands dirty fiddling with a pen this is a fun pen to try. For me the line quality is such a joy to draw with that it was worth the hassle of learning how to adjust the pen properly.
Want to improve your drawing? Don't know when to draw or what to draw? How about taking on the 75 Day Drawing Challenge? Started by watercolor artist and sketchbook keeper Brenda Swenson it has grown and developed into a popular artistic challenge for many people to customize. The only rules that stay constant are the 75 day length and using ink or another permanent line. I made the challenge my own with ink and doing blind contour drawings. A blind contour drawing is a drawing where you focus mostly on the outline, don't lift your pen as you draw and don't look away from your subject (so you don't look at your paper) while you are drawing. Do this for 75 days in a row (more or less) at a fairly consistent time for maximum effectiveness. I find the morning while I drink my coffee to be a good time for this activity. It can take as little as 5 minutes, but some people go all out and spend twenty minutes or longer on their drawings. I am content treating this as a warmup activity and spending rarely more than ten minutes on my drawing. I have also started journaling in the pages and including the date and weather forecast in the margins. Sometimes I fill in the drawings with details and sometimes I add bits of color. But they all start with a blind contour line that I mark the start with dot and an S and the finish with a dot and an F to keep me honest.
It was a hard challenge for me to start but once I got going I noticed a change in my drawing and easily continued. Until around day 35 when I realized I had been doing this challenge for over a month and wasn't even halfway done. I am not used to drawing challenges that last longer than a month. But I made it through that bumpy period and now here I am almost at day sixty and with well over 100 blind contour drawings under my belt and I am looking at ways to keep this habit going after 75 days and after my sketchbook is full. I'll probably just start a new sketchbook with simple graph paper and save the next Moleskine from my clearance stockpile for something else.
Happy Monday! Relaxing and cleaning filled weekend on one of our final summer days here in Boston. This cleaning has led me to rediscover some of my most favorite things in my art studio.
IKEA Raskog cart is hugely popular for a reason. It looks good in a retro kind of way and it is well made and can be used to store a variety of items from plants to kitchen gear to art supplies. Guess what I use mine for? Art supplies of course. Only my favorite and most reached for supplies go on this little cart. I love how sturdy it is, easy to clean and with wheels that actually move smoothly and don't fall off like so many cheap plastic carts I have tried in the past. Mostly pens and ink up on this top level along with books that I am currently reading, with watercolor supplies down below and markers and scissors on the bottom level. I must really trust my children to leave the scissors and sharpies on the lower level and bottles of permanent ink on the still quite reachable upper level!
Are you too nervous to draw around people? Especially the thought of drawing people that aren't specifically posing for you? Or maybe even people that are posing for you and asked to be drawn? Too much pressure to do a good job? Maybe you end up scribbling over your drawing, erasing your drawing or even worse ripping out the page and crumpling it up! That was me for my entire life up until this point. But now I just do it and half the time early in the drawing I mess something up or the person moves and I am tempted to give up but I go on and finish the drawing. I always finish my drawings. If I keep going I can fix it to at least be decent plus I learn from the experience of drawing and correcting errors. If I give up I learn nothing. It is summer so go outside and draw and if you are feeling extra brave draw people. They rarely mind.