Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Drawing is Seeing.

09 Oct

James McMullan teaches basic drawing skills every Friday, through writing. His New York Times series, ‘Line by Line,’ showcases the value of drawing as a way to see the world, and the relationships of objects within it.

Try his lessons to help make your sketches, drawings, notes that much more engaging.

Also, checkout our posts on templates for drawing out ideas, drawing a landscape, and how changing perspective changes your results.

Popularity: 26% [?]


Looking at the landscape.

17 Jun

Drawing is a complicated thing that many artists will struggle years to master… and even then it takes diligent daily practice.  But drawing skills and tools are on a spectrum which means that at the most basic level, they can be achieved by anyone willing to give it a shot.

Learning to draw is really about learning to see more clearly exactly what is in front of you and relaying that information to the page as clearly as you can to communicate it.  Let’s apply this to a quick lesson on how to make a sketch of a landscape.

Here is a gorgeous photograph of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. First, let’s take a closer look at the image:

Courtesy of Richard Weisser and

Notice how there is a distinct foreground, then a middle ground with a number of mountains and finally the most distant mountains further off in the background (and let’s not forget that pink sky!)  This is all easier to distinguish if you squint a bit at the photograph.  Now notice how each of these three distinct areas have a different value (or lightness vs. darkness) in the image.  For a simple sketch, which we’ll do here with pen and paper, taking note of these facts is all you need.

First, draw the simple shapes that delineate the front, middle and rear of the picture place:

Next use marks, sometimes called cross-hatching, to create darker and lighter areas.  If you have a small paintbrush, you can use water to run the line of your pen which creates a nice gray:

You can stop here or, add a little color for that sky…

This simple sketch only took a few minutes and I could probably work on it longer to add details such as some more of the middle ground mountains.

Looking at a mountain landscape and simplifying it to get a better understanding of how to approach a drawing of it is a wonderful metaphor for our work lives (if not beyond!)  Noticing that there are distinct differences in what lies just ahead, and a bit farther off, and then on into the distance is crucial to keeping your goals and priorities in order.

Making a simple drawing in your sketchbook of a favorite place of yours, or an imagined business landscape perhaps, is a great way to take a few minutes and assess the path ahead and decide how to proceed.

Send us what you come up with.  We’d love to see it… and share it if you don’t mind!

Popularity: 73% [?]


A drawing a day turns into a business.

10 Jun

Adam came across the Obsessive Consumption project recently on Twitter.  Kate Bingaman-Burt has been documenting her personal consumption habits for years by drawing everything she buys.  Over time, this self-processed obsession has become an entire line of graphic work that is now shown in galleries as fine art, published in books and even printed on pillows.  Her drawing work is sought after by companies such as IDEO, ReadyMade Magazing and the New York Times.   All this by drawing everyday.

Now mind you, she is a working artist, and many of you may not consider yourselves to be artists.  But the exercise of drawing daily can still be a valuable tool to tapping into your very own brand of creativity.   There is a wealth of research available out there about tapping into the right side of the brain which houses the more creative, holistic thinking processes.  Listening to music, going for a scenic drive or a long run, and of course, drawing, are all ways to tap the less used hemisphere of the brain.  Have a look at Bingaman-Burt’s work and be inspired to try documenting something in your own life.  You could doodle what you buy like she did, or the dogs you meet, like I often do.  Currently I am spending quite a bit of time in the garden trying to figure out if certain plants are flowers or weeds.  I was recently informed that the thistle-like flower I have been so keen on is actually a weed that will quickly push out all of my other plants.  So I pulled it up… but not before I did a quick sketch of it!

Popularity: 17% [?]


Finding your voice.

04 May

An interesting thing happens every time I teach my sketchbook class at the Art Academy.  At the end of the 8 week term, students share their work and are surprised at how tremendously different each book is from the next.  Students have been introduced to the same materials, processes and instruction yet the differences are striking.

When Adam and I began the Drawing Down the Vision workshops, I was curious to see if this same phenomenon would carry over into the intensive 3-hour workshop geared toward the business world.  It did.

There are many ways to distinguish one individual from another.  We hear a voice on the phone and can often recognize it immediately.  Handwriting is another of these distinguishing characteristics and drawing is simply an extension of handwriting.  Introducing the drawn line into your arsenal of options for effective communication is a powerful way to differentiate your individuality among a large, often daunting field of co-workers and competitors.

In a group setting, the ability to draw out an idea on paper, or to take notes with visual elements, helps people with different modes of thinking better communicate. Drawing, even in the simplest fashion, is a way to stand out in the crowd as someone who can sort through a difficult problem and find a creative solution.  It doesn’t take much – a pen and paper and a willingness to find your own personal visual voice.  Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

Popularity: 11% [?]


Small talk vs. Debate, Doodling vs. Drawing

23 Mar

Debate versus Drawing

Ok, let’s compare a few ways people share perspective. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite, small talk!

Small talk is about simple things. It’s about right now, something like… the weather! Small-talk is equivalent to doodling, it’s a starting point… letting your mind wander and sharing your thoughts. Who knows where it’ll lead.

Debate is about more complex things. People gather in groups to discuss who’s better at it. Debate is equivalent to drawing, people also gather to discuss who’s better at it! Both in debate and in drawing, you’ve got a picture of how it all works in your head… you just need to make others see it, either in their head or on a piece of paper.

When we draw, our pencil moves slower than our mind, we can only share so much of what we’re thinking… usually the simplest, but most important, stuff.

We begin drawing by focusing on the obvious details, we start with an outer line… an outline. Then we gradually fill in the details… a few lines here, some shading over there, maybe a big arrow to connect one thing to another. Throughout this process, we’re defining how one object relates to another… where it’s placed, how big it is, how heavily shaded it is. By it’s very nature, drawing is about establishing perspective. Clear perspective allows us to better communicate solutions to complex problems.

So next time you’re doodling… maybe you’ll consider kicking it up a notch and start drawing?

Popularity: 18% [?]


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