Each Wednesday check this blog for a strategy, process, or reflection for illustration with the iPad app ProCreate. This Wednesday Wrap Up is a wrap up of my time learning with Peggy Dean and her new book, Mindful Sketching. With the purchase of her book, I signed up for three live sessions that expanded on her techniques in the book. I was so excited and a bit scared because I just cannot draw a straight line or see shapes– I really depend on the two-finger undo tap in Procreate. But…. I’ve been iPad drawing for about three years now, so maybe….
What drew me to this book is the subtitle: “How To Develop Drawing Practice and Embrace the Art of
Perfection Imperfection.” Why? Because I know I will mess up. My hands are a bit shaky, so the “streamline” in Procreate really helps. A few years ago I could barely doodle, but with the help of Procreate and undo, I’ve built my confidence.
Peggy emphasizes three things: 1) imperfections are OK and 2) stay focused and aware– that’s the mindfulness. In her book and in her live draws she emphasized art strategies and techniques with a focus on making the art your expression– just keep moving on with the sketch. Don’t give up. Build in details that can overcome those imperfections and goofs. And the third thing: 3) the artist [YOU] choose what to put into the illustration– part of the window or the whole building? Lots of shrubs or a few? The artist chooses what to express, what to emphasis in line and color.
What to Notice
In the gallery below, you at first will not notice the imperfections — you will enjoy the illusion of the illustration. But look deeper. I want you to see my imperfections so that you too will learn to embrace them as you learn. We are all learning, improving, experimenting in our life and in our art. Keep going.
You will see lines out of place, skewed perspective, scribbles, crooked lines. They are all actually a mess.
But guess what? I love them all. I love that I could draw a line and make it seem like something– and that the viewer will recognize it.
And guess what else? With each practice piece, I’ll learn. I’ll get better. I’ll begin to sense the needed length, the angle, the curve, the shape, the needed emphasis.
If I had not tried, I would still think I can’t. I embraced the imperfections and just kept adding lines and details– just enough — to get the impression of what I wanted to include and express. It’s my art.
Some Skills I’m Learning
Here’s a bit of what I am learning:
- Choose the parts to include
- Note the vanishing point [a dot]
- Note the horizon line [a quick line]
- Begin to set the diagonal lines into the vanishing point
- Begin to set the base horizontal and vertical lines of elements– just set strokes in to finish as the drawing develops
- Think in shapes
- Build in details–just enough to indicate my choice of inclusion in the picture
- Add color or not– just enough
Really– you cannot believe how much I’ve grown. Take a look at my work from 2017 when I started “sketching” and “doodling:” Sketch50 Flickr Album and my beginning doodle lessons: 21 Doodle Days with Diane Bleck. I’ve been on a journey with artist teachers since then, and I truly thank them for sharing their knowledge.
Materials / Supplies
I know eventually I’ll want to purchase some Peggy’s pens and brushes, but for this project and the live draws, these are the supplies I used:
- Sketchbook: Canson Cold Press Watercolor 7×10
- Inking: Micron Pens— Sakura Pigma 30067 Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black, 8/Set
I keep a water sprayer bottle on hand to “wet” the paints. Paper towels absorb the excess water or color and help clean the brushes. Extra paper to test the brush of paint.
I also keep two little cups of water– one to dip and one to clean. I put them into a plastic container because I’m graceless and would otherwise tip them over [or my cat would].
Message to You
You can do it too– just keep the mantra from Peggy– “embrace imperfections.” I know my friends in the Native American culture would always remind my students as they encouraged them, that an artist leaves in a mistake because not one of us is perfect, yet we are unique and we matter.
And, here’s the video summary of this post and my learning, with a cat treat at the end…
So thank you, Peggy Dean of Pigeon Letters, for the encouraging lessons and book to guide others in their journey. In sharing her own journey and her process, she inspires us to keep moving forward, aware and mindful that our artful expression makes the world better. And, if nature is your preferred look into the world, Peggy has another book on Nature Drawing and Watercolor— which arrived with extra goodies. I can hardly wait to continue by dive into both of these books.
With whatever skills you’re learning, with wonderful artists to learn from, I hope you find a way to give joy to others by sharing your work.