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Back to drawing practice

Updated: Jul 11

photo of a sketch of a lady
sketch of lady

*Just a quick disclaimer before I start, this post isn't sponsored I just really enjoyed the material by these two people.*

I woke up this morning thinking about what I wanted to do for my drawing practice. Getting right back into my charcoal light studies. I had found this book at a second hand store somewhere and for the life of me I can't remember which one or where. It is "Draw Like THE MASTERS" by Barrington Barber. I paid $18 for it which by thrift store standards is expensive but it has already paid for itself with just the explanations of what each artist is employing in their works. If I came across this book in the book store I would have bought it at regular price.

photo of the book Draw like the masters by Barber
photo of my copy of this book

I've been using this book to practice in ink because the images are broken down to a simplistic form that lends itself well to quick studies of my line work.

Another good thing about this breakdown is they are all in black and white which works well for practicing my charcoal light studies.

I generally do a quick 10 to 20 mins of sketching every morning. I've been mostly working on drawing people, trying to get my portrait drawings to actually look like who I'm drawing. Today though I feel like doing a still life. So I will try my hand at this one.

photo of a page from Draw like the masters
page from book

Although I generally can draw things fairly well, I use a method of grid or sight size or proportion measurements to do so. I want to employ more of an relational approach to make it quicker for me to draw but also to bring it back in line with the way I naturally paint.

This whole drawing thing started as a ponderance by me of why can I paint something beautifully but can't draw a stickman. It took me quite a long time to get to the point I'm happy with my drawing, training in the classical ways.

It took way too long to get to the understanding that I paint looking at shapes like an impressionist.

One day about 6 months ago I was listening to a YouTube video while I was on my commute by Paul Ingbretson. (great videos if you are looking for some art history about impressionists and some practical applications Let's see if I can figure out how to link it here)

I was trying to figure out what I should focus on, what style gives me the most joy and because I heard someone say you can generally find that by what you're drawn to in other artist's works I decided I needed to figure out why I was so drawn to Monet and Paul has a great 5 video series on impressionist (see above link). That's what lead me to his videos.

In another video of his (the one I was listening to on my commute) he was talking about the application of paint and finding the color notes and their relation to each other and the whole painting what you see thing. Which clicked for me. That is how I naturally paint, on my base level what brings me the most joy about painting and what I'm naturally drawn to in other paintings.

Then I realized that's why I feel like my style in my true to life pieces started suffering and felt tedious when I tried to apply what I was learning from my classical drawing. This is probably why my urban sketches haven't improved in the manner I am looking for. Although they have made a huge improvement from where I started so not at all a bad thing. My imaginative pieces though really did get a big boost from this so not a waste of time in my mind. So then it was all clear that now I also need to hone my skills to draw in that manner.

Paul was gracious enough to share with me his reading list he gives to his students and to my delight a lot of the books are available for free on google books. (because let's be honest the last thing I need is more books, at least until I get another book shelf lol)

So that's where I am at this morning.

My to do lists I will keep plugging away at today. I only ever hold myself to the first item of my must do list. That way I don't feel overwhelmed and if I don't get the lists done I still feel like I accomplished something. And if I get more done then one, that's just a bonus.

Yesterday I only got 2 and a half items done. Really how bad the jetlag hit me I'm pretty proud of myself for getting that much done.

For me the only cure for jetlag is carbs and sleep so that's what I ended up doing. I made a lovely pappardelle pasta with a simple tomato pesto and then slept for like 14 hrs. So even though it's still my day off I was up at 4am.

Oh well I'm back on local time, feeling great and ready for day shifts.

Jackie ❤️

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Check out Andrew Loomis book for all the essential studies for figure drawing. I think you'll dig it.


Actually it's sitting open on my night stand right now 😂 I've been using it for the figure drawings. I love the art nouveau feel it has to it too. But it has helped soo much with breaking up how I look at people. My bodies are getting better but I still have this mental hang up with faces. I have trouble seeing them as shapes. Which is weird because I see faces in shapes all the time 🤣

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