Addicted to Feedback


I’m just pausing and reflecting on my behaviour with Internet driven art community networks.

Right at the top of my list of “ugly” behaviours was my obvious addiction to feedback. I was checking Facebook, Instagramm, Sktchy and my Sketchbookskool notifications in increasingly rapid intervals. There came a point where it just wasn’t fun any more, the first thing I’d do in the mornings would be to pick up my smartphone and check the number of “wow”s on Sktchy. That’s actually what made this behaviour so obvious to me and I’d ike to thank the Sktchy app for this precious lesson.

As a bit of input here, I’d read a bit of Danny Gregory’s “Shut your Monkey” and had already read half of George Leonard’s “Mastery” when I noticed the “feedback addiction”. So, I started wondering about what I was actually up to … with my drawing skills and my precious time. Is there really somebody out there I needed or wanted to impress? No.

So, for whom and what reason was I doing all this for?
Well … I had the reason right there … it had trickled into my head while reading Leonard’s book … “I needed no reason to increase my drawing skills, I should just do it, practice, practice, practice and have fun with it” … so, I can just enjoy the ride.
Again, to summarize: I was doing this for me and me only and I should enjoy the ride for the sake of the ride.

– Practice for the sake of practice
– commit to developing my skills
– be patient
– practice even if I see no obvious advance (and appreciate those plateaus)
– don’t mind looking foolish
– be in the moment

Leonard however does argument strongly for finding a very good teacher … I’m considering this … but haven’t taken the correct inital steps to ensure I find one.

Oh, well, but what would a blog post here be without a pic … so I’ve collected most of my Sktchy App pics and arranged them around the latest sketch I made on the back of a calendar (basically just scrap paper) … I must admit, I have also uploaded that pic to Sktchy because I’m hoping to win France’s book “Sketch!” …

[One of my next blog posts will be about gesture practice, I have collected a few thoughts on that.]

Some collected Sktchy App pics of mine
Some collected Sktchy App pics of mine

Beardless Comic Strips

Well, as mentioned, I’m on the next SBS Kourse: Polishing

The first week is “comic strips” with Danny Gregory.

Before the week began, I decided to shave off my beard and ‘stache. So you’ll see some newer self-portraits here.

I tried (and failed) to stay up all night to start Polishing as one of the first. So I started drawing my bedtime espresso and chocolate muffin. I also watched a video with Danny and drew him for about 30 minutes.

Most of these pics are in my A6 Hahnemühle sketchbook with my Lamy Safari “F” nib and Lamy ink.

late night espresso and muffin
where’s my muffin?
conversation comic strip
My day as a comic
ice cream truck (2 minutes)
mirror image
me, from photo
view of Bonn’s skyline
Danny Gregory

Complex Patterns

Week 6 of SBS Seeing Klass. Ended April 7th, 2016.

Actually, I believe — in retrospect — this may be where all the trouble began (I stopped my daily gesture drawing, I gave up drawing for hours a day, days passed without me drawing at all).

This Klass with Liz really shook me up … analyzing complex patterns seemed to be so tedious and basically impossible for me to manage.

We attempted to draw nicely patterned teacups (of which I have something ranging from zilch to “non at all”) with ink and then paint them with watercolour.

Additionally, we went out and drew some buildings.

I took on an extremely complex topic of drawing my rococo style mirror (I haven’t got many patterned things … or perhaps I’m not looking properly).

I also decided on filling my A6 Hahnemühle sketchbook … taking watercolurs completely out of the equation (because of the paper in said book).

What I kept on noticing was that the non-analysis seemed to work better for me and I kept slipping into the well-known behaviour of just playing it by ear. My brain was refusing to compromise, denying myself to slow down, look, measure, compare. It was confusing and made me doubt myself.

But I have also been reading George Leonard’s book “Mastery”, where he describes that if you attempt to learn something new, you may perceive a drop in your skill level especially if you have been whiling away on a plateau for some time.

I’m slowing getting back into my daily gesture sketching, taking it in little steps. Perhaps only 20 minutes of 30 second gestures a day. I have also started drawing a slower sketch every day or two (I’ll drop a post here too with some of  those pictures soon).

So let’s not fret too much. This was the last week of Seeing and there was a lot to learn, so that I actually believe now that I should have taken a longer break before starting the next Klass … but I’m now on the Klass Polishing at SBS … some of that stuff coming up on a blog near you soon too.

analysis of view from bedroom window
View from bedroom window
View from bedroom
View from living room window, no analysis
Patrick’s Duplo
Cappuccino cup


Teacup and mirror analysis
Rococo mirror: analysis 1
analysis 2
after analysis
Rococo mirror
Mirror before any analysis
Building opposite bakery
Our house
neighbour’s car

biros biros biros

Week 5, SketchBookSkool, Andrea Joseph, … biros and sketchbooks.
What do you need to make art?

  • paper
  • biro
  • something to draw

Did I miss something? … probably not …

So this is what I’ve been up to with a biro since Easter Friday.

  1. something blue (jeans)
  2. something new (Lamy Safari)
  3. something sweet (hedgehog … practice for a birthday present)
  4. a remote control
  5. my first 5D pic (my studio)
  6. my second 5D pic (watching an Ukrainian film on telly with wife)
  7. Life Drawing Class with a biro! (the text says: Lighthouse1917)

And this is only half of what I’ve been up to …


A Collection of Stuarts

Ed got me going with this one … I enjoy seeing his results and the progress he is making with his toolset ( Every now and again, he will upload a bunch of self-portraits. Now I’ve got into the habit of drawing, painting, sketching myself once or twice a week too. Here are the results.

I’m using different sketch books and scrap paper. I use different tools in no specifc order they are

  • a Lamy fountain pen
  • Faber Castell Pitt artists pens (S, F, SB (soft briush))
  • a dip pen (numerous nibs)
  • Pelikan wax crayons
  • F-C Polychromos colour pencils
  • F-C Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils
  • watercolours, with Kolinsky paint brush, or Koi waterbrush
  • biros (nothing special, just what’s handy)
  • pencil (very very very seldom)

The Lamy is great for on-the-go, I use it to jot down anything (e.g. telephone numbers) or sketch people. At home, I switch to biros or Pitt pens. It’s then nice and relaxing to use the dry colour tools (wax crayons, Polychromos or Abrecht-Dürer), but if I want something really demanding with the chance of achieving a sense of success (no, scratch that, it is always worthwhile), well, then I’ll get out the dip pen, Dirk Weber ink and Horadam watercolours, not to forget the Da Vinci Kolinsky brush. That reminds me, it’s time to spend a few hours with those lovely tools again and “ruin” a few pages of watercolour paper.

Lanzarote, February 2016

Or, “How much can you sketch in 1 week?”

I was on Lanzarote in Costa Teguise for 9 days and took along 4 sketch books.
I used 3.

  • 1 Hahnemühle DINA5 sketch book soft and rough paper (good for biros and colour pencils) 40 pages (10 sheets), I think it cost 1.99€
  • 1 Moleskine pocket size watercolour sketch book, 60 pages (12.99€)
  • 1 Moleskine DINA6 journal (cahier pocket), 96 pages (three for 6.90€)

I had a travelers’ pack of watercolours (12), a mixed hair paint brush, waterbrush, colour pencils, biro, Derwent Graphik Line Maker 0.1.

And I drew and drew and drew.

A Brace of Models

Stuart: Oh, look we have two models tonight!
Torsten: No, she made a mistake, it’s ok, she’s going now.
Female Model: Hi!
Stuart: Hi, Female Model! Great, two models tonight!
Female Model: Yeah, I don’t mind. But it’s too expensive.
Stuart: Well, if it’s only about the money … we have enough.
[Stuart approaches Torsten again]
Stuart: She’s willing to stay. We can afford it, can’t we?!
Torsten: Hmm, but some of our artists already have enough on their plate with one model.
[3 minutes later, Female Model is undressed on the little stage]
Stuart: Hey, Female Model, you can thank me for this!
Female Model: Yeah, you can call the poses!

Oh, I love my Life Drawing Classes, but tonight was my last one for months. I haven’t registered for the next course, because SBS and “daily” gesture sketching is taking up enough of my precious time.

But here are the results of tonight’s “brace of models” and also a sneak peek into my second week at SBS.

So, what’s this with the paper … looks like a calendar. Yes, it is a half price Moleskine weekly calendar. I wanted something that feels and looks great, but is not too “precious” and can still, just about take watercolours (it was still expensive, for half price: 10€) .

One last pic tonight in a small, absolutely lovely Moleskine watercolour booklet (10 minutes):


OK, this is the stuff I took to Life Drawing Class tonight:


Oh, look, there’s even a picture of me in there.

Now to SBS. Well, I am absolutely blown away. I can’t believe how much of my hidden creative seam has been mined in these 12 days.

I’ll just give you something of mine to look at from this last Klass with Jill Weber … it’s all about telling stories and making books.