Thursday, June 14, 2012

75 Day Sketch Challenge: Days 1-5

I've accepted the challenge - the 75 Day Sketch Challenge, that is! Artist Brenda Swenson came up with the idea as a way to encourage people to hone their drawing skills and gain confidence as an artist. You can read all the details on her blog.
 
Basically, the challenge involves doing 75 sketchbook drawings in 75 days, using pen and ink. No preliminary pencil drawing is allowed. That's the part that's a little intimidating for me. I usually do a pencil sketch first, then add ink. Now I have to boldly draw with ink, and live with any mistakes or inaccuracies.

Each person who completes the challenge will receive an official "Artistic License" from Brenda. It's her way of encouraging people to stick with it and complete the challenge.

I bought a brand new Stillman and Birn Alpha Series sketchbook to work in. I've been wanting to try a hardcover sketchbook to see if I like it. So far I do.

I began my challenge last Friday, June 8th, and will finish up on August 21st. I dashed off this first drawing in ten minutes or so while sitting on the front porch with family, watching the sun go down.

5" x 7", Pitt pen with watercolor

I'm not sure whether most people doing the sketch challenge add color to their drawings, but I can hardly bear to leave a sketchbook page with just black and white on it, so I added some watercolor to the geranium drawing the next morning.

On day 2, I attempted to sketch two of our cats, Hoover and Genevieve. Of course, as soon as I drew the first line, Hoover started lolling around in the chair and stretching, never holding still for more than a few seconds at a time. Genevieve was a little better, but I rushed my drawing because I was anticipating her wandering off any moment.

5" x 7", Pitt pen with watercolor

I love the drawing from Day 3. I carried a folding chair out to the raspberry patch at the back of our garden and sat there in the late evening to draw a branch of ripening berries.

5" x 7", Pitt pen with watercolor

I'm going to do most of the lettering in this sketchbook freehand, but I'm giving myself permission to use a pencil to lay out the spacing of letters if I want to (like I did on this raspberry page.)

Already, I'm seeing a difference in the way I focus my attention on what I'm drawing when I know I can't erase. It's making me pause to think before I draw a line.

I almost forgot to do my sketch on Day 4. I was letting Buckley out before bedtime when it suddenly dawned on me. I spied the clothesline strung across the laundry room, and thought, "That'll do!" and picked up my sketchbook and pen. This time I switched from the Pitt pen, which I had used for the first few drawings, to my Noodler's Flex pen with Lexington Grey ink. I'm much happier drawing directly with the fountain pen than with the felt tip Pitt pen. I can draw a fine, light line if I want, or make it thicker just by pressing down a little harder. Compare the line quality of this drawing with the cats from Day 2. I think it's much more interesting.

5" x 7", flex fountain pen with Lexington Grey ink

I'd like to sketch all the rooms in our house while I'm working on this project. Here's a corner of the living room...

5" x 7", flex fountain pen with Lexington Grey ink

Well, I'm off to a good start. 5 down, 70 to go! 

Anyone care to join me? It's a fun project, and we'll be finished before summer's over. Leave a comment if you're up for taking on the challenge!

7 comments:

  1. I LOVE your sketches - they're MUCH more detailed and involved than anything I did when I did the challenge last fall. I pretty much just did a single object each time. But even so, it was good practice. And I really saw a difference in my sketching after completing the challenge. I should probably do it again - I've gotten rusty since then. BTW, if you don't already know it, there is a flickr group for participants of the challenge - are you on flickr?

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  2. Thanks for mentioning the Flickr group - I went ahead and joined. Glad you're enjoying my sketches - it's so much fun to share. Why don't you do the challenge along with me? I can see it's going to involve a big time commitment, but I think it will be well worth it.

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  3. Leslie, your sketches and small paintings are delightful. You are right, it is a big commitment - one I would love to do if I wasn't into many other projects. Good luck with it and I would love to follow your blog to see how you are going!

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  4. I'm glad you'll be stopping by to see my progress. Welcome! I hope you'll be able to do the challenge one of these days. I can already tell it's going to be a game-changer for my drawing skills.

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  5. Glad you joined the flickr group. Just wanted to mention that I finally finished reading your Sketchbook Journeys Ireland, and I loved every bit of it. My very favorite sketch was The Cliffs of Moher on page 32 - it's absolutely gorgeous!

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  6. It's so refreshing to see black & white drawings too. You are inspiring me to join Brenda's challenge...

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  7. Cheryl, that sketch of the Cliffs of Moher is the one I struggled with the most. I have trouble painting water, and there was so much of it in that scene. I'm glad you enjoyed the book - I wish I could go back to do Volume II!

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