The Practice of Sketching Daily
A Daily Habit for the Soul
If you don't have a daily s habit yet, I highly recommend it. There is something sacred about taking intentional time out of your day to grow a skill.
I am a true believer that “art” is like a musical instrument or a sport. It’s a skill to be practiced for it to grow. For some people, they have parts of being creative that come more naturally. It's important to recognize that these people aren’t truly skilled unless they practice. A lot.
My Sketchbook and Me
In 2018, I was tired of not being good at drawing. I had always been a creative person and at that time, I was digging deep into practicing my “oil painting skill”. Despite my growing skills in oil painting, I still considered myself bad at drawing and, to be honest, I hated to pick up a pencil. It felt intimidating and frustrating and just downright embarrassing. How could I ever call myself an artist if I couldn’t even DRAW? So, I made the decision to learn to draw. I purchased tutorials about “how to learn to draw” and began taking Skillshare classes. I committed to begin sketching every day. During this period, my sketching improved! I was able to draw basic shapes and I felt a bit more comfortable sketching. I didn’t keep up with it though. For the next 2 years, I would “sketch daily” for a few days at a time and take a break for a few days. Starting a new habit like that was so hard, especially when the drawing didn’t come naturally.
In 2021, I found an illustrator on Patreon, who for $5/month – I had access to a new “how to draw ____ “ eBook each month and his video drawing tutorials. The lessons broke everything down into simple shapes. This was a game-changer for me. This illustrator taught about building a catalog in your brain of artwork, and the only way to do this is to continue to practice drawing. The framework was simple, repetition and practice! His homework assignment was to “fill a sketchbook page daily”. At night, I would lay in bed and just try to fill a page and be exhausted by the end, it was hard. Until one day, it wasn’t.
Forming the Habit of Sketching Daily
As drawing became a bit more enjoyable, and less like torture, I began to become more consistent in sketching. Not only was I seeing results, but I was feeling them. So, I needed to form a routine so sketching daily would become a habit.
It was important to identify something that I did every day, no matter what. For me, this was drinking my tea in the mornings. I would put my headphones on with relaxing music, light some candles, and sketch for 10-15 minutes – sometimes even less if it was a rough morning. (I'm a mom and have a houseful of pets, I know how rough mornings can get!) See, it’s not always about the habit. It’s often about building a ritual around it to make your new “habit” more enjoyable – you know, so it becomes a habit.
The most challenging moment about sketching daily is sitting down and staring at a blank page. How do I decide what to sketch? Time is already limited so staring into space for 10 minutes wasn’t feasible. Creativity is fed and nurtured. I have found that the more I sketch, the more I see things to sketch. My imagination grows when I feed it. And my imagination eats creativity. I sit down one morning and sketch my tea mug, then in a week I may imagine my tea mug with a plant growing out of it, and the next week I may imagine a tea mug that is leading an army of other tea mugs to rage a war against the coffee mugs! Creativity is fed and cultivated. When I was learning to draw, I would draw from a tutorial page each morning. This helped take away the decision process of “what to draw”. After completing this process for months, I now have ideas that have been floating around my noggin with excitement and anticipation for my next morning to sketch. But the real question is, "Am I always inspired?"? Nope!
When there is no inspiration:
When it’s time to sketch, and there is no inspiration, I head over to Pinterest. In my Pinterest, I keep boards that are titled “mushroom inspiration”, “flower inspiration” and “house inspiration”. I know, impressive wordsmith over here, right? If I’m not sure what to sketch, I open up one of those boards and sketch something from there. Because no matter what, it is the act of practicing, creating that mental catalog, and teaching my brain how to communicate most effectively with my hand! And usually, while I am sketching – I think of something to sketch.
Check out my Pinterest boards for more inspiration: Get more inspiration
Our daily habits are ours to choose from. The time to dedicate to our daily habits is often precious. Creating routines around the daily habit can help it become and stay consistent. Each day, I choose to sketch. I don’t want to sketch every day, but I know the second that I let myself lapse, it will be that much easier to skip another day and another. Did I get here overnight? No. It took me 4 years to get here. Four years of starting and stopping again. The last year has been my most dedicated and in the last 90 days, I haven’t missed a single day to sketch. To me, that is progress!
I can’t wait to see what will happen in another 4 years!
It was so interesting to read about developing a daily drawing habit. I have recently started an online class, but only seem to sit down with Procreate on my iPad a couple of times per week. It is hard to introduce another habit into my full days, plus living with chronic pain/fatigue.