Get a move on and get it done. Gave myself The Boot yesterday to do it. Settled down and shot some sketches to show or at least a curated selection from my multitude of sketchbooks. This wouldn’t have crossed my mind to bother doing, were it not for inspiration from @aagabriel; thank you.
I’ve been trained to take a sketchbook with me everywhere for, well, a very long time. It’s a practice I have continued to the current day. I’ll draw anything, anywhere, anytime, in any medium. No thought process involved, just do it. It’s relaxing. It keeps me honed. It teaches me every time.
A weekend routine that I used to have, was hanging at a local coffee shop for a bit. This first drawing is pen and ink from that time. The lucky victim was the guy sitting at a table in front of me. Most drawings of people in public are done very quickly, usually within three to fifteen minutes. People are constantly moving, even when sitting, so one has to observe accurately and draw quickly. This kind of practice really sharpens the eye.
The next four sketches are all from the same area, located at a main intersection in the city. There are always plenty of people and rest spots for about a block on both sides of one street. Each of these four were drawn with pen and ink, approximately five minutes per drawing.PEOPLE ON THE STREET I
PEOPLE ON THE STREET II
PEOPLE ON THE STREET III
PEOPLE ON THE STREET IV
In the last drawing above, both women were standing and moving around while I was drawing. I focused on capturing an essence of their facial features and expressions. Floating heads in space.
There’s an old cemetery that is another favourite spot for drawing. I’ve spent at least twenty years drawing and photographing there. They’ve also given me permission to remove wood from cut down trees to use for carving sculptures.CEMETERY MAUSOLEUM
This is a family mausoleum that I’ve photographed many times. The drawing was done in pen and ink, while sitting in the grass nearby. Structures don’t move, but light changes are noticeable within fifteen minutes. This drawing took about twenty minutes to complete in pen and ink.CEMETERY STATUE
Many headstones and sculptures are eroding, such as this one, where the facial features of the figure are barely distinguishable. I’ve always been fascinated by watching how anything changes and decays. All things of this world are temporary. They come into being, go through their process, then decay and fall away in a perpetual state of change.CEMETERY HEADSTONE
This headstone is also in the process of decay but has been vandalized as well. There used to be two headstones side by each. One has been deliberately toppled over, broken and lies in pieces to the left of the in this image. I drew this with the brush end of a marker, in a reddish brown colour similar to the headstone, a ten minute drawing.
Trees are a long time love affair for me. I’ve drawn, painted, photographed, sculpted, and carved them. The following five drawings are of trees that inspired me.TREE I
Ten minute drawing, detail of a tree trunk, done in brush and ink.TREE II
Ten minute pencil drawing of a tree that was struck with lightening, splitting off one main trunk. Often I do sketches as reference for sculptures I intend to carve. This is one of those drawings.TREE III
Twenty minute brush and ink drawing using only black and white with no tones, a way I like to draw at times. This approach creates a different challenge for me in terms of how I see light and dark, the duality of black and white, side by side.TREE IV
Twenty minute pencil drawing of a gnarly tree torso and roots with a huge burl near the base. Every tree is different. Every tree has a story. Every tree has a personality, although not in the sense that humans do.TREE V
This last tree was drawn with markers, the kind that have both brush and point tips, a fifteen minute drawing. One tree, with a very deep divide, so I decided to draw the left in mostly blues mixed with brown in some areas and the right side in mostly oranges and brown to enhance the divide between the two.
The next three drawings were at the Distillery District area of the city. The first drawing was done in the 1990’s when the area was used as film studios. The second two were done long after the area was completely overhauled, “beautified” (read, made profitable) and turned into a city attraction, complete with the requisite ugly in modern sculptures.DISTILLERY DISTRICT DETAIL
This drawing is a pen and ink detail of one of several film studios in the nineties, done in ten minutes. Biking for the day with a friend, so we didn’t stay here long.DISTILLERY DISTRICT CLOCK
This clock really caught my attention. Drawn in about twenty minutes in pen and ink. The actual clock can be seen in the first photograph here.DISTILLERY DISTRICT DECORATION
The second thing that caught my eye was this old, corroded, falling apart car, with the door left open, as a decorative element in the square area. Behind it is some metal sculpture that looks like…I don’t know what, call it a shiny metal thing with no purpose and no meaning perhaps.WALDORF SCHOOL EXTERIOR ART
This was a very interesting series of stone sculptures on the front lawn of a school where they had a farmer’s market every weekend. I couldn’t resist sitting in the sun, looking at the forms and shadows while drawing them, which took about twenty-five minutes.VEG STILL LIFE
This last drawing is a still life of two acorn squash and a red bell pepper on blue fabric that I set up to practice drawing from life, something I’ve done often. This was drawn in pencil crayons in about forty-five minutes. Still life set ups offer many opportunities to practice different aspects of drawing, depending on the arrangement chosen. It also gives a much more controlled environment. Nothing moves around (unless you put something wiggly in it). Light conditions can be controlled. This sort of approach helps one train the eye to see without feeling the pressure of time, such as most of the previous drawings in this post.
There are many things in my sketchbooks; writings, poetry, thoughts, ideas, designs, recipes, address information of friends, sometimes notes from friends and maybe a drawing here and there. There’s a lot I leave out because it’s so personal. I rarely ever allow anyone to freely look through a sketchbook. I curate what people see in person as well as online.
That said, here’s one tidbit I found written in a sketchbook from at least six years ago. I’ll give you the opportunity to stumble on it like I did.NOTE TO SELF
All drawings are the original creations and property of Nine. Photos were taken with a Pentax digital 35mm camera and 90mm Tamron macro lens.