Drawing is interesting. I have always had a love-hate relationship with it, mostly because I have a tendency to be undisciplined and lazy, and that does not mix well with drawing. I think drawing speaks to what it feels like to live this life. It is a walk with beginnings, joys, sorrows, repentance, and endings and the sum of it all can be a display of breathtaking beauty.
I have been drawing for a long time. When I first began to draw I was ashamed of my lack of skill so I would secretly trace things and tell people I drew them. Once I felt so guilty for lying about it that I called my aunt on the phone to confess to her what I had done. (She was the one I lied to about it) She laughed at me, in a good way, and of course forgave me.
After that, I got away from drawing for a while, in fact, I started living as though I wanted nothing to do with art. Those were some strange years; middle school always is I suppose. Then, I hit high school and was suddenly drawn back into it. I began taking art classes and realized I was decent at drawing. For a while, I thought I was just that awesome, but now I see it was a result of how I drew in my younger years.
Yes, I also lied during those young years, and you will be glad to know I did stop. Isn’t that how it goes. God takes an area of life where the flesh used to rule and then makes it produce fruit as soon as we finally abide in Him.
As I moved into college, I took a drawing class and decided I did not like being told what to do with my art, so I dropped the class and never went back to college art classes. My art was my own.
After that, I began to grow up a bit, and I began seeing the value of a course in drawing. This realization of the value in learning how to draw grew even more as I learned more about the classical tradition. I learned that nothing is my own. Everything belongs to one tradition, or another. It was a matter of deciding what tradition I wanted to shape me. I had my answer and back to drawing classes I went.
I could not find an art teacher in the area that taught art in the classical tradition, so I drove 45 minutes once a week to go to classes. Of course, I live in reality, so that did not last long. My teacher did send me off with some advice. She said imitate and practice. Hmmm, back to the beginning eh?
|My husband. Drawing your spouse is a great practice in loving them.
You notice so much about them when you do.
So, what does imitation and practice look like in practice? It is quite simple actually.
1. Get yourself some drawing paper, the bigger, the better. I use an 11 x 17 spiral-bound drawing pad. I also have a 5 ½ x 7 ½ sketchbook I can carry around with me.
2. Grab some pencils. You do not need to have artist pencils. In fact, you will become a better at drawing if you can manipulate values with fewer lead variations. If, however, you cannot be content without real drawing pencils then get an HB, 2B and 6B. Also, a metal pencil sharpener is much better than any other type of a pencil sharpener for drawing pencils. In term of an eraser get a ‘Pink Pearl Eraser’ and a Kneaded Eraser. A set of Stumps And Tortillions is a great addition to the drawing set as well. There are many drawing sets that may include all of these things. Michael’s has a brand called ‘Artist’s Loft’, and that is what I buy my kids for art class. They work great. Here is a good one I found on Amazon called the Sketch/Draw Pencil Set. It has the pencils, the kneaded eraser, the sharpener, plus some extras.
3. Find real pencil drawings to imitate. You can look online or in books. I have a favorite book series I use for myself, my kids, and my art students when I teach art. The author is Gene Franks, and he takes you step-by-step through countless pencil drawings. Here is a good all-in-one book that we have. The Art of Pencil Drawing by Gene Franks
4. Keep practicing
There are so many ideas here. Many of the following ideas are taken from Edith Schaeffer’s chapter on drawing from her book, Hidden Art.
: : Decorate menus, place cards, and to-do lists. This can add to your fulfillment as well as the satisfaction of others.
:: Write out and decorate scripture memory cards and hang them around the house
:: Draw out your prayers
:: Draw out sermons or lectures you are listening to, especially if you are the type that likes to fidget learn by doing. This will solve both the fidgeting – learning tension.
:: Sketch out scenes on greeting cards for friends and family.
:: Sketch outdoors while your children play. Then both of you are enjoying the time in a refreshing way.
: : Have a Moms night out and create art together. See if you can use someone’s home for a warmer atmosphere and to save money. Bring some sweet treats, serve some coffee and tea, and put on some music.
: : Draw with your kids. Instead of Mom reading aloud, let an Audio book read aloud and then everyone get out paper and pencil and draw while you listen. This is especially nourishing on day when nerves are frayed, and everything seems to be working against you.
Friend, you can do this. Living an artistic life is within you grasp, because it is a disposition toward life. That disposition is in turn expressed in the particulars. To learn more about this disposition make sure to read the first five days of this series. They are all about preparing to create.
Expanding wisdom, extending grace,
|This part is a member of our 31 Days of Playing with the Arts Series|