Posted by: lizhogarty | January 31, 2014

Draw-A-Day Friday 31st January – Follow Your Heart

Hi, and here we are on the last day of Draw-A-Day, and here I am wondering what my final and most important piece of advice is that I can leave with you. I think it has to be about your own personal creativity. I would agree with Nike when they say ‘JUST DO IT!’. Draw what you love, what captures your imagination, what you are ‘drawn’ to, what you are interested in. If you have no ideas then take a metaphorical pin, close your eyes, and stab at one of the entries from our past year together. It doesn’t matter what it is, and if you keep doing that, your own ideas will flow, I guarantee that. But ideas can’t flow, creativity won’t happen, skills can never improve if we do not have that pencil in our hand!
Everyone has creative dry-times at times, they are as inevitable as our own bio-rhythms, and are often linked to them! There is nothing we can do about that, they are part of the creative process. But what we can do is to accept this, and draw anyway, or find other ways to create.
I have found these creative deserts at times, and one book which really helped me to understand this is by Julia Cameron: The Artist’s Way. It is written for writers, but is equally as relevant to the artist, and where she talks of writing daily, we have the choice to write, draw, or do both. I found the book very helpful as a discipline, and my daughter read it and went on to write a novel!
I am unsure how many of you have stayed til the bitter end with me… if there is anyone still out there, I would welcome some feedback as to how useful my blogs have been. I intend this year to continue the draw-a-day personally by drawing either a landscape or a portrait a day, and I hope you too will continue.

Have a good… creative life!

Liz x

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 30, 2014

Draw-A-Day Thursday 30th January – Experiment

As well as pushing your tools, it is also worth experimenting with styles, papers, interesting effects, either with drawing or with paint effects.

Maybe consider keeping a journal for a year, and find new ways to decorate each page.  I love creating surfaces for my drawings, maybe by rubbings, or on interesting surfaces, unusual papers, or with collage-work.  Look out for what attracts you.  A range of books I have found interesting are by the American Journal-Makers.  They don’t go for drawing skills, but have great fun creating in other ways.  I have bought some books while browsing on Amazon, and if you buy via Kindle or second-hand they can be very cheap.

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 29, 2014

Draw-A-Day Wednesday 29th January – Master of all You Hold

Know your tools… take time to really find out what they can do.  Experiment with mixing them, trying out new pens, find ones you love, see the benefits of waterproof ones, and the benefits of the non-permanent varieties.  take your pencils and see how many different marks you can make with them, then try with your charcoal, your watercolour pencils, your charcoal pencils, conte crayons.  If you do not have any of these, put them on your birthday list.  Go to art shops, art shows, demonstrations, seek out all the wonderful mark-makers and find out what they can do.  There are more and more coming onto the market all the time, and they can produce some wonderful effects. But, whatever you have to hand, be it a simple pencil and paper, be the master of it, know it well.

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 28, 2014

Draw-A-day Tuesday 28th January – Free and Easy

Today, in contrast to the intense studying of yesterday, which was in order to represent accurately, take a large sheet of paper and draw large and free.  Use your left hand, tape charcoal to a stick and draw at arm’s length, anything to loosen up.  Maybe take a stack of computer paper and a magazine, set an alarm for one minute at a time and draw randomly from the magazine, stop after a minute, and move on to another random picture.  The object of all these exercises is not to think… let the exercises loosen your arms, and loosen your mind.  Creativity comes more fluidly when we are in a state of enjoyment with a relaxed mind… you have permission to play!

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 27, 2014

Draw-A-Day Monday 27th January – The Space Between

Hi everyone, and welcome to the last week of this draw-a-day blog.  I hope that you will agree that it has been quite a journey, and I really hope that you can look back and see that along the way you have improved your drawing skills, perception and creativity.

This week, we shall re-cap on some thoughts we have had on technique, which at the end of the day goes hand-in-hand with the creative process.  after all, it is all about experimentation and pushing your tools as much as your ideas.

An important aspect to consider when drawing is the negative spaces, which are equally as valid as the positive ones.  By studying what is going on around the subject you can pick up clues to help with the accuracy of your drawing… seek a vertical or horizontal line which will help to establish angles, look for natural frames, and objects to help relative sizes.  and of course, look for the shapes of the spaces between, to help depict the shapes of the main subjects.  It is always better to think in terms of the shapes and angles rather than what the subject is… when these are established, then stand back and ask ‘does this really look like Aunt Maud/that table/a monkey up a tree?’  If not, then re-check your shapes, angles, negative spaces.

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 24, 2014

Draw-A-Day Friday 24th January – Imagine

5. Use your mind’s eye.  Remember the validity of the mind’s eye, either using your imagination, or working from memory.  Use this as a freeing-up exercise, or as a valid way to create.  Also, remember that taking a piece of paper and letting things happen with no pre-conceptions can reveal some interesting creations, whether these be deemed ‘subconscious’ or not.  This is a fun way to free yourself up, and an excellent way to draw when you don’t know what to draw.

So, there we have five points to consider when talking of creativity.  Next week we will look at the final five, which will cover technique.

Have a good weekend,

Liz x

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 23, 2014

Draw-A-Day Thursday 23rd January – Copy the Best

4. Copy the Masters.  One way to improve your drawing skills is to look to the masters.  Copy their drawings, see how they expressed their subjects, get a feel for beautiful proportions, beautiful and natural lines.  These artists have made most of the decisions needed, so just enjoy following in their wake.  Look at Matisse, Picasso, Leonardo, Durer, the Impressionists, Michaelangelo, or anyone who you admire artistically.  You can obviously draw from their drawings, but also take paintings which you are ‘drawn’ to, and translate them to black-and-white.  This is also an excellent way to really get to know a work of art, help you see things you would likely miss otherwise.

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 22, 2014

Draw-A-Day Wednesday 22nd January – Use your Material

3.  Review your work.  Every so often, look back at previous work.  I always recommend dating your work, which helps at times when maybe you feel you are not progressing.  Comparing your work with earlier pieces should put your mind at rest there.  It also helps in that you may find something you wish to develop, and if you are in the middle of a creative desert, which is a place we all visit at times, it can help you to move forward.  Look at your work with fresh eyes, look at ways to crop into the work, re-draw it, express it differently, enlarge it.  It is all about playing with new ideas from old.

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 21, 2014

Draw-A-Day Tuesday 21st January – Inspiration

2.Keep your eye out for inspiration.  Everyone will find different things they gravitate towards, and this is a very personal journey.  Maybe you find people interesting, or the abstract quality of a close-up feature.  Maybe it is the light on water, or old photographs. Look on Pinterest for inspiring photos or paintings, and collect them on your ‘boards’.  Keep a folder for cards, photos, clippings, anything to help kick-start a new image.  Keep looking!

Posted by: lizhogarty | January 20, 2014

Draw-A-day Monday 20th January – 10 Points to Consider

Hi, and here we are in the last two weeks of our 12-month 10-minute draw.  I thought it would be worthwhile to use the last ten sessions to cover the main aspects of drawing, in my opinion.  So here we have the top ten points to remember:

1. Get out and draw from life.  It is so much more satisfying to draw from life, whether it is a beautiful sunset,  a garden view or a group of coffee-drinkers in your local cafe.  Whatever captures your attention, draw it.  It is so much more rewarding as you are making all the decisions, selecting what interests you, as opposed to copying a flat image.

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