Been doing a lot of inking lately …

Before I start, first things first … a warm welcome to you, my treasured follower!

I started this blog 2 years ago and uploaded every single picture, sketch, watercolour and gesture drawing I made. There weren’t many, I wasn’t drawing every day and I wasn’t drawing up to 4 hours a day back then. Nowadays, I try not to draw for 4 hours a day, but I must admit, this Sunday is coming close to 4. Although, I can strongly recommend putting in that much time if you are really serious about improving your skill set, you still must be warned that it should not all be practice. The practice needs to be counter-balanced with project, fun and study work.

I’m saying this because I’ve been on a downer lately and I believe it to be because I have not been balancing out my practice with some nice and easy fun assignments. I think I may have managed to maneuver my way out of it, but there still seems to be one ingredient missing … project work.

So, what have I been doing for practice? Basically, gesture drawing (here is something I wrote about it:

I am adding a picture or two for each “stream”, down below.

What have I been doing for fun? I’ve been out on Wednesday evenings with a group of like-minded sketchers, visiting museums and I’ve been to see Roman art on Sundays, sometimes on my own, sometimes accompanied by a sketcher or two.

What’s been study work? Well, I’ve been reading up on things (Walt Stanchfield’s “Drawn to Life, vol.1” and Robert Beverly Hale’s “Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters”). I must admit, I could be doing more there. And, of course I go to Life Drawing evenings every Tuesday, I guess I classify that as fun, but it “should” be study.

The missing ingredient project is actually possibly about to take off, because I’ve got interested in the competition that quickposes[dot]com is staging. It means, I will have to make up a nice scene from childhood with figures, story, action and whatnot. I’ve got a number of thumbnails on the go.

In summary, don’t just practice, and likewise don’t just try to have fun, find a good balance between fun, practice, study and project work (perhaps even take your sister up on that request to draw her dog or cat).

To finish off, here a selection of my Oktober[sic.] inks.

















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

Stuart in b/w

Ok, before I overload the previous blog post, here are the collected results of another week at SketchBookSkool (join it!). This is the second week of the “Seeing” Klass with Koosje as teacher. We are all making selfies. And as I am currently working with Alphonso Dunn’s “Pen & Ink Drawing (a simple guide)” (buy it!) … most of my results are in … pen & ink.

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.