When we returned from our road trip, I dutifully sketched coffee cups and other everyday things. Even though I often say that tying sketching to the acquisition of knowledge or to understanding makes any subject potentially interesting to sketch, I got tired of drawing the vegetables in my produce delivery, and my beloved fatsia, and even coffee cups.
But I know that regularly working in a sketchbook connects your hand and brain and eyes and trains them to work together, keeps your hand in making art on a regular basis, and keeps you ready for any sketching opportunities. And I know that slumps don't last, but I wanted out of this one quickly so I thought of some things to help.
Sketching from Photos
I talk a lot about the importance of sketching from life, but sketching from photos is also a useful tool, and can be fun and relaxing.
Try timing yourself in order to get more spontaneous marks, like this grid of one-minute sketches.
Drawing from a Book
This was inspired by the artist Emma Carlisle (look for her on Instagram), who has a book of birds she works from when she's stuck. I did these from a guide book of trees - it's a fun way to play with materials.
Copying from art books, from comics, from other people's sketches is a good way to keep your hand in it, and to learn from others. Lynda Barry is big on copying and uses it when she teaches. She says, "Copying is good for you because it takes time and requires a certain sort of sustained concentration that invites a different sort of thinking."
Trying a Different Approach
Try changing something up from the way you usually sketch. I spent a week doing almost nothing but continuous line drawings (where you don't pick up your pen/pencil), and it really helped me to want to sketch more. You can also try different materials, different paper or cardboard or the backs of envelopes, or go back to a material you haven't used in a while.
Start a New Sketchbook / New Intentions
Starting a new sketchbook can bring a refreshing change. I have a couple of Laloran sketchbooks - super nice sketchbooks made by my friend Ketta Linhares in Portugal. It feels "too fancy" to use right now while I'm not going anywhere or doing anything, but I decided that's why I need it. My days might all be very similar right now, but each is still special.
So now I am celebrating the everyday things, rather than dutifully recording them. If you can't literally get a change of scene, you can change other things to freshen up your outlook.
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