Sketchbook Thursday: drawing what you love to look at

It has been awhile since I’ve indulged in a Sketchbook Thursday in this space, so I’m going to fix that right now. As the evenings get darker earlier, and the garden gets frosted bed by bed (I still have a few tomato plants out in the garden proper, and my hoop house is still producing, but it’s all slowing down) and I have less and less produce on the back porch staring at me as I pass by, talking to me, harrassing me, actually, I have a bit more time to sit and draw.

Do your veg talk to you? Here’s how it all goes down, at our place:

The flat full of late tomatoes, beginning to get soft: “Well? I thought you were going to try that recipe for tomato jam with us, lady?”

The bucket of apples that is starting to show dark spots: “Soooo. . . will it be dehydrated apple rings or applesauce? Better make up your mind, girl, before it’s too late and you’ll have to throw us–ouch!–to the chickens!”

That bucket full of insolent jalapeno peppers that need to just go into bags in the freezer, already (they are so saucy!–but their condition doesn’t change as quickly as that of the tomatoes or the apples, so they are easier to ignore): (snorting) “‘GIRL?’ Whaddya talkin’ about, she’s not a girl! Girl. If she’s a girl, I’m a spring blossom and baby, I ain’t no blossom!”

Some underripe pears that would be best for canning: “If you all just keep eating us, there’ll be no canned spiced pears for Christmas dinner . . . just get the jars out, already, and do it!”

All veg and fruit on the back porch, in unison: “Do it–do it–do it–do–it–!!”


Do your harvested veg and fruit try to lay the guilt trip on you, too? It won’t be long now before the back porch, where I bring in my produce from the orchard and the garden, is empty of crates and boxes of lovely crops. It’ll all be squirreled away in jars in the pantry, or in the freezer, or possibly in the root cellar. Whatever I fail to process will go to the chickens. They won’t mind. 🙂 One more year’s harvest will be accomplished, and there’ll be more time again for things like music. And art. Melodrama! And reading. This thought makes me smile, and makes me really grateful for long winter evenings inside by the wood stove, and our long winters here in Nebraska.

Yep. I just admitted it. Long and cold winters are not entirely loathsome to me. They do give me time to plan for spring.

Besides, without wintertime, how would I ever get anything done inside?

You fellow gardencrazy enthusiastic gardeners know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. 😉

We are re-discovering our indoor activities one by one. Mack and I played Monopoly yesterday for the first time in months. And I’ve been drawing every day again, and it fills me with joy to do so.

Often when I’m out drawing, somebody will ask me how I decide what to draw. This is what I tell them: I draw what I love to look at. Anything that fascinates your eye is a good thing to draw. Anything at all! By drawing it, you will understand and appreciate it even more. Here are a few sketches from my sketchbook, of things that I love to look at (and so consequently, love to draw). Artists through the ages have learned more about their world through drawing it. Or painting it. Or both.

I draw dozens of little farmsteads and barns, usually as I pass by them in the car (when I’m the passenger, mind). I have to draw these very quickly, because they are changing perspective by the second. (Another post for another day!)

Making very quick little drawings like these are great for training your eye, and your memory.


Of course I draw the more beautiful or interesting veg from my garden. This little tomato sat on the table for days and I drew it several times. I exaggerated the stem blossom just a tad. 😉


I’m blessed to have many lovely people in my orbit that don’t mind my drawing them.


Little Mack brought me this cicada shell (or part of one). “I knew you’d want to draw this, Mom.” He was right.


Do you have a daily drawing habit? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you missed my first Sketchbook Thursday, inwhich I shared how I teach my children how to draw, and my very favorite creme-de-la-creme Sketchbook, check out this link where I shared all.

One more quick tip for you! I fill up my sketchbooks to the edges of each page. I don’t leave a lot of white space. I even draw on the backs of pages, which means that there is potential for smudging. So I do keep a can of this fixative on hand, and now and then take it outside and spray the pages that I’m working on. It’s a “workable” fixative, which means that you can keep on drawing on your paper after you’ve sprayed it on, but by using it, you won’t automatically smudge your old drawings as you are working on new ones.

It’s a great product!

This stuff is great!

That’s all for now, you adorable folks, you. Have a great day, and happy, happy drawing!


10 thoughts on “Sketchbook Thursday: drawing what you love to look at

  1. gene gage

    Hey, Mama Amy –
    How would you like to do a new company logo for me? consisting of one of your veg drawings and two words – Heartland Organics. I want it to look like me – not the least bit polished or “professional” looking. Let’s talk while we’re picking pears!

  2. K. Lee Banks

    Your sketches are great! I’m not really talented like that, but I do enjoy designing quilts. I use graph paper and rulers to create the basic design, and then use colored pencils to all the colors.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Quilting takes real patience and a good eye, Karen. I love to make quilts, but usually only take the time in the month or two before Christmas. I love it!

  3. Sarah

    Veggies always speak to me, but even over veggies are my fruit trees. We have had some quite fascinating conversations! These are some lovely sketching. My mother has challenged me to draw everyday, and it has become much smoother than ever before. I find it so relaxing to sit and depict the things around me. The thing that has always cut the joy of my drawing is comparing it to someone else`s and becoming a judge over it; by drawing everyday it feels normal and I don`t feel as though it has to be anything spectacular because it is part of a daily routine. This is a sweet post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I used to sit every day that I could in my studio, at my art desk, and draw for an hour or two. Now I’m more flexible and just grab my sketchbook whenever I can, but I try to draw every day in it. But I’m much more flexible about where I draw–I draw in the car, while watching t.v., in church (*gasp*, no kidding) and just everywhere. I look back at my drawings and the ones where I sat rigidly at my art desk every day are not nearly as loose or enjoyable to look at as the ones that I do just anyplace. I think if you are relaxed about your drawing, and that you just do it for fun and not for anybody else, you can see a real difference. And first lesson of making art, dear Sarah: never, never compare! 😉

  4. Chef William

    I would like to get a sketchbook and some soft charcoal pencils but everything like that cost an arm and leg here in Mexico. I did bring my beading tools and supplies on the final trip here but have yet to find an area when i can enjoy beading. (to many fun loving cats.) I have not sketched in years but there is so much around me that would lend itself to that. I am going to the states in the next few months to get a new computer (and pay taxes). that would be a great time to pick up some drawing supplies. I like the tomato, it shows what you can do with life around you.

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