I started on the 12th December last year, with a quick sketch. I tried really hard and 9 days filled out with quick-ish sketches. The most detailed was the Fringe-style seahorse I drew the day after we finished watching the Fringe finale. I love drawing in biro, it’s got an interesting texture and roughness that allows me to be a bit scrawly and messy in a way that a rollerball pen or pencil doesn’t. Most of my sketches were off the top of my head, without looking up reference images (the Fringe seahorse is an exception). Most of my illustration work is digital, so it feels very un-work-like to create something where the final outcome is a one-off on paper.
But then I had a big gap in my sketches. I left the days I missed blank, and did a mediocre sketch every week or so. Now I’ve got a lot of empty pages.
This week I wanted to draw a bird. That’s not something I could draw off the top of my head, so I looked up a reference image that had the detail I wanted to use. Then I drew it in a fair amount of detail. This probably took about 15 minutes. And I was quite happy with the results, finally there was another sketch I was happy with sharing online.
And this got me on a nature theme, I drew a squirrel, a starling and a frog in the following days. This was so much fun, and a satisfying distraction from my gloominess. Each sketch took progressively longer, but I don’t mind because I’m enjoying the process, and I’m doing it for me.
I’m not sure how I feel about creating work from other people’s reference photos. It feels like cheating somehow. I took the photo of the frog myself, so I was happier with that. I’d assemble my own still life structures, like we did at school, but I don’t think I could find subject matter anywhere near as interesting as the nature shots I can find on the web!
This morning I’ve been the most ambitious so far. I cracked open a box of watercolour pencils I got given. I’m not great at handling watercolour, as most of my painting has been done in acrylic, but I think this will be fun to improve on.
I’ve no idea if I’ll manage to get to 365 sketches. I want to go back and fill in the empty slots too, so I’ve got lots of work to do. It’s not something I want to become a chore, but it’s a nice excuse to improve my old-school drawing skills.