One outcome of twentieth century art – particularly Pop Art – was that the range of subject matter expanded far beyond the traditional landscape, portrait, and still life. Artists started taking a closer look at the mundane in their surroundings as though seeing those things for the first time. This is a useful concept in keeping a practice sketchbook in that it opens up an almost unlimited source of subject matter. The subjects of the two drawings above are examples. Sometimes finding a model is just a matter of seeing potential in the ordinary.
In the previous post, I mentioned the adult coloring craze that has inundated the leisure time activities market. I think that one of the main trends fueling that is the doodling craze started by the creators of Zentangles. In case you didn’t know, Zentangles are doodle algorythms that enable almost anyone to create beautiful patterns by repeating a series of steps. The original idea was for theraputic relaxation but soon people were creating these patterns and selling them for other people to color. I’ve seen them on color-it-yourself items from greeting cards to origami paper. You can download free doodle algorythms from online sites, attend doodling workshops, buy doodle pattern books, or create your own algorythms as I did in the composition above.
The thing is, the patterns many people are publishing now have always been around – in fabrics, wall papers, architectural accents – everywhere. You just have to look for them in your surroundings. When you find one you like, just reverse engineer it to find out it’s algorithm.
I personally like to use doodling as a standby sketchbook activity when I can’t find anything interesting to draw from observation. It’s also great for practicing pencil shading, filling in empty spaces in art journals, and entertaining small children.
Overlappage, the tie-dye resembling doodle below was created with an algorythm that children used years before algorythms became a thing. If you think back to your childhood you may remember several such things that were fads in elementary school. If you do, maybe you can make some money publishing them in coloring books.
As I mentioned in the previous post, drawing animals or anything in motion requires a quick action technique or gesture drawing. One way to practice this is to get a photo of an animal and use it as a model to create a series of eight or ten quick drawings. Be sure to do some warm-up scribbling first, work small, use a black ballpoint pen to get dark lines, and limit your time to ten or fifteen seconds per drawing. Try to keep your eye on the model and use free flowing lines to describe what you see. When you’re done, pick one of your drawings and enlarge it on a photocopier. That’s how I created Kat. Later I went back and tweaked the eyes, added the patterns inside the scribbles and colored a copy of it.
Recently I ran across this drawing in a file and realized that it resembled some of the material flooding the adult coloring book market. If you’re into that and you like my Kat, feel free to download a copy of it and color it any way you want.
I got the idea for this drawing exercize from a book called Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim. It contains several other good ideas for loosening up and some creative ways to create finished products from your practice work. I highly recommend it.