So for the past two weekends I went to the local College campus to continue my weekend sketch trips to sketch trees. Georgia Southwestern is a College located here in Americus and has a very pretty campus that is open to the surrounding public to enjoy.
photo by Bobby Ellis courtesy of The Image Company
My partner and his daughter were both there, and we made it our Family Outing for the day. Micah brought her sketchbook and she borrowed some of my sketching pencils. I like to think in some way, I inspire her to sketch, but mostly I think it's just something she comes to do on her own. Her mother is also an artist, so I think it just may come naturally, to be very Darwin Acquired Characteristics about it. lol. She also brought some books to read. Bobby brought his Quad-Copter (see photo) to practice flying it over the flagship building of the College, for a shot he needed for a video he was doing for work. So he was in the field next to us, Micah was on the picnic-less blanket drawing, I was also sitting and drawing the wonderfully twisted branches of the trees that were nearby. Though, truth be known, I selected the spot because of the interesting trees that were there.
I normally focus on either the foliage or bark using the drawing techniques from the book, but for whatever reason, I decided to draw the entire scope of what I saw around those particular trees. I found the landscaping of that particular area quite aesthetically agreeable and soothing.
I then decided to practice sketching trees from a distance and utilize those particular techniques I also read about. I drew the field Bobby was flying his Quad-Copter in. There was a lovely set of Old Established Oaks and a flag pole. The drawing wasn't quite what I think I was supposed to do, considering it was a first attempt to draw in a way I'm not really used to drawing. I fell back into my old drawing habits as the day grew long. And by my old drawing habits, I mean lazy drawing or draftsmanship where I'll cut corners instead of doing what you're supposed to do. Pulling myself out of my lazy and/or bad drawing habits was the original purpose behind this Back-To Basics exercise project. I think restructuring my skills through these weekly exercises is a good thing for me being so far removed from draftsmanship practices I haven't used since College. Since then my focus had been solidifying style and marketing and working. I had made no time to just draw things the way they are for years, so I decided this year was the year I will make a conscience effort to employ these practices and make them part of my weekly, if not daily, life again.
Also let me take this moment to thank Jennifer and Kevin for the AMAZINGLY AWESOME pencil bag they gave me for my Birthday. I Absolutely LOVE it and I'm certain it will make my sketch outings much more fun. Thank you both! :0)
Last Sunday I went out to sketch at the Campus again. I wanted to draw the trees and bushes that surround the Campus Bell Tower. I wanted to practice more on sketching/suggesting detail in things that are distant. For the most part, I feel I am getting better with the proper drawing technique, however, this particular sketch through into sharp relief something that I will be working on in my Sketch Outings very soon and in abundance: Perspective. The trees around the Bell Tower look fine but the Bell Tower itself is quite awful, I must admit. Perspective has always been one of the most challenging elements of drawing and Composition for me. Even back in College, it was something that required alot of practise to be decent at. I'm unsure as to why. I have concluded that it must have something to do with my vision problems.
I had always been Near Sighted, but back in my freshman year at college, I had to have two very serious Eye Surgeries that resulted in being even more Near Sighted; Extremely so that, current day, I have exceeded the prescription that is made for contact lenses. I would have to have custom contacts made, but they would be hard lenses and I am not really willing to wear hard lenses. I don't think I would ever get used to them. So, ultimately my vision will get progressively worse as a result of the type of surgeries I had. My vision will always be a bit off because of this. SO I'm really not surprised that my ability to translate three dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface (perspective) is hindered by this.
This doesn't mean, I have an excuse to be lazy, It just means that I really have to work even harder than most to be successful at creating proper believable and non-wonky perspective in my drawing and illustration work. This is also another reason I am re-working through basic drawing exercises. I haven't done them since much, for lack of a better phrase, "Eye-Slippage." So perspective and architectural detail and accuracy will be my next series of exercises after trees and foliage.
So Bell Tower aside, I felt this was a successful outcome for creating atmospheric perspective of trees using the book's technique.
On another not entirely, I have taken this past week off from extracurricular drawing and illustrating activities, namely weekly sketching and Illustration Friday, to focus on a very festive Holiday activity. For those who are not close friends, I like to take time every year to creatively work on and put together a fun Halloween Costume. In years past I have home made costumes for Eliot with an full size E.T. in a bike basket (last year's. and yes he lights up in his chest and finger.) I have also made a Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder), Charlie Chaplin and several others. So be on the look out very soon for a SketchBlog post on this year's Costume fun. Illustration Friday and Weekly Sketching will pick back up again next week.
until next time...
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art.