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Warm-ups

20 Oct

Before heading into the studio to attempt any ‘serious’ art work, I often need to warm up by drawing something in my sketchbook.

These little drawings are typically unrelated to any project at hand.  Working at home, I tend to draw the nearest dog.  I find this exercise to be an amazing warm up to thinking clearly.  It’s like meditation, only without so much tedium.  But what if you work in a more traditional office environment?  This exercise can still be a valuable one, provided you have on hand some simple drawing tools and ‘objects de art’ that you find interesting.  These can take the form of found items from nature, or an interesting coffee mug or pen that you like the look of.  It can really be anything.

Place your chosen object on your desk, not too far from view and open your sketchbook.  Now spend a few minutes looking at the object.  Pick it up and find your favorite angle of it.  Can you identify simple shapes in the object that might simplify it at first glance, such as circles, triangles, rectangles, etc?  Now, without too much thought, pick up a pen or pencil and without looking too closely at your paper and keeping your eye mostly on the object, begin making a line drawing that traces these broad shapes.  Try to get a basic outline and then continue to fill in where one shape moves to another.

This may feel (and look) ridiculous at first, but it is truly the first step in learning to draw.  You can practice this simple exercise in about 5 minutes, with the same object, each day, and see how it progresses.   You will see progress in what your drawings look like.  But beyond that, you will notice a little something about how you feel as you make these little drawings.  You might find that your mind gets into a different groove and that you are thinking differently.  A little less restless.  You may even find that sometimes great ideas pop into your head as you draw.  Even a simple drawing exercise such as this one can get your mind working in a new way.  Practicing this can be a valuable tool in pushing the boundaries of your normal day to day modus operandi.

Find an object that you find interesting and give sketching it out a try.  Then try it again the following day. Let us know how it goes.

Here are a couple more fossils of mine to inspire….

Related: How changing your perspective changes your results.

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