Introducing . . . Sketchbook Thursdays

Introducing . . .  Sketchbook Thursdays

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I’ve been working on this blogging thing for some time now–actually, for over two years! I love it! It is fun, and challenging, and interactive, and creative. It suits me. But there are a few things that have fallen by the wayside while I’ve been putting effort into blogging. My banjo playing! Cleaning house! *cough* And picking up a pencil and paintbrush and drawing and painting the world around me.

The kids and I draw together nearly every day during school. We trade off reading our Bible lesson and our current read-aloud. Amalia reads, Mack and I draw. I read, Mack and Amalia draw. You get the idea. In doing this–even though my sketchbook may only represent a few minutes a day of drawing–I’ve filled several sketchbooks, and I treasure them. I’ve got drawings of all the kids when they were younger, cute things that they said, drawings of our place and our things and our animals and our lives. It’s not great art–it’s daily note-taking, journaling, in a visual sense.

This is the little book that I’ve used to teach all my children to draw. It offers over 200 sequential little drawings to learn, and it takes kids from drawing “flat” to drawing with perspective and values. We’ve bought several copies of it over the years (I’ve been homeschooling now for nearly 25 years, yikes!) because now and then a copy would get lost and I didn’t want to go for long without one.

By the way, even if you’re an adult and have always wanted to learn how to draw, this little book is a great way to start. Each lesson can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less, I’d say, and all you need besides this little book is a really nice sharp pencil and a great sketchbook. Speaking of great sketchbooks . . . this one is my hands-down favorite:

Even just looking at this link, makes my fingers itchy to start on a new one. The paper in this sketchbook, you see, is nice and thick and has some tooth (artist’s term for texture) but just a bit, so you can use it for pencil, ink, and/or watercolor. It’s just the right size, too. It really is the best sketchbook. And speaking of watercolor painting . . . (gosh, I didn’t mean to write this much, but you got me started, Gentle Reader!) . . .

THIS book is a great resource for learning how to keep a day-to-day sketchbook with your pencils and watercolor paints. I’ve painted out of mine–there are bite-sized lessons, again, that can take just a few minutes a day–for years. It is dog-earred and paint-splattered and scribbled in. I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in fine art, but I was never satisfied with my watercolor painting ability, and I’ve learned lots from this book.

I just love it. I think it’s out of print now, but it’s super cheap to pick up as a used book. The title is The Joy of Watercolor: A Complete Course in Watercolor Using your Sketchbook as Workbook, by David Millard.

I realized the other day that my blogging has taken over so much of my life that I hadn’t been drawing or painting at all. Even our Bible study and reading time was often rushed. I had to look awhile to find my treasured current sketchbook. I sat down and had Amalia do the reading that day and I drew a houseplant, a succulent that my mom had given me and that I liked particularly, across the room.

Making this little drawing–it probably took me less than 15 minutes–opened up a longing in me that I had forgotten about. A longing to produce art. I wondered, miserably, how I could fit in a few minutes every day to draw, and paint, and I decided that I just had to.

Yeah, so running a household and homeschooling and building a blog (all of which I love) takes time. But art is important. Making art is a quiet longing for me that I realize that I should not ignore. I am a fairly quiet and unselfish person (no comments, kids!) but I shouldn’t be quiet and unselfish about a gift that God gave me: God gave me the gift of seeing, and being able to put down on paper what I see, and immense pleasure when I do so.

I’ve always harbored the smug feeling that God made sensitive types, like artists, for His own pleasure–who else will stop and notice how breathtaking those iridescent bugs on the cabbages are? Or the thirty shades of pink and orange in the sunset? Or the beautiful way that the weeping willow tree sways in the wind? I see these things and I praise God for caring enough about us to provide a constant and changing visual feast!

So I made that little drawing of a houseplant and I left it on the table for days, and every time I entered the room, I’d stop and admire it. I miss drawing! And I realized how I could mesh my blogging with my need to make art: I’ll have a day every week where I am not working on my blog, per se, but I’ll publish some drawing that I’ve done the week before, or even a page of my sketchbook. That’ll be my post for that day. Easy, quick, and this will leave more time for my drawing.

Here’s the drawing of the little plant that got me to make time for drawing again . . .

Mom, can you identify this plant?

Maybe someday I’ll have enough drawings to make prints, and then make them available in my (soon-to-be-announced) blog store? The possibilities, as they say, are endless. 🙂

I went on, as is my wont, with doing some drawings of little Mack in his Taekwondo class, and also writing down a fun passage from Kipling that made Mack and me giggle . . .

And with that, I’ll encourage you, if you have art longings, or mountain-climbing longings, or deep musical desires, to turn off the ‘pooter today and put some time in–even if it’s just 20 minutes–feeding that part of you that God put there.

And even (holding my breath) sharing them with me, from time to time? I’d love to see your drawings, too!