I Don't Draw Things

{reposted from dec. 2009}

"Drawing, within the visual arts, seems to hold the position of being closest to pure thought."
John Elderfield

"Draw on both sides of the line, not just what you're enclosing. The shape you're making on the outside is as important as the one you're making on the inside.
Leon Polk Smith

"Drawing is one of the best ways to meditate, while staying connected to the world around us."
Elsha Leventis

Late Colonial Door, Philadelph... Digital ID: 96327. New York Public Library

You can use old photographs in your drawing practice. I was curious whether a few years of drawing pretend things like mandalas in any way helped my ability to draw real things. So I started with a photograph of a facade and drew my version of this "real thing" with PITT pen in a 5x8" watercolor moleskine journal. It has relatively simple lines and is an interesting photograph. Looking at it, tempted to pitch it, knowing that would be so wrong, I tried to figure out what I liked (as opposed to what I didn't like) in the sketch. I like the quirky windows and doors. And I liked the experience. See Retro| Vintage Drawing Practice.


"May your heart always be joyful.
May your song always be sung."
Bob Dylan

This is a sketch made during a flight using a reference photo {which I cannot find}. It's a good thing that photos are flat and don't move. In real life, when I look at something the lines and angles and shadows and depth look different each time and that freaks me out. Why did I pick this facade to draw? I liked the lack of angles and curves. I practiced working from the center toward the outside and getting the key lines (like the windows, the building edges, etc) in the right spots relative to the other lines. The lines are wonky and things don't line up as they should; I sort of fumbled along with the textures. It's a quagmire of lines!

Have you sketched anything REAL lately? What did you LIKE about your work?