One thing that I’ve been really working on this year is developing my own art. I have a few goals with my artwork, such as to improve my sketching, to build up a portfolio of motifs and designs and to develop my own signature style. Do you recognise some or all of these goals as ones that you hold dear too?
If you do recognise these goals then I have a fun exercise to share that you might find helpful if you haven’t already got it as part of your art habit or ritual and that is the ‘Rapid-Fire Multi-Drawing Exercise’. OK, so I’m rubbish at coming up with names. Let me explain!
The Rapid-Fire Multi-Drawing Exercise
Actually let’s just do it now! Grab a piece of A4 (8.5″ x 11″) paper or better still a sketch book and a pen or pencil, now draw 30 different mushrooms, but don’t take too much time thinking about each one, do one, move on.
They do not have to be beautifully rendered or amazingly life-like, but each one does have to be different.
Go on, I can wait for 5-10 minutes, I’m not going anywhere!
OK, how did that go for you? Don’t worry, some people will find it really easy and some people will find it really difficult and that is OK.
Why This Exercise?
Before I started as a full-time freelancing artist, crafter and blogger, would you believe that I taught creativity as part of entrepreneurship programmes for scientists and engineers at university? I know, it seems like another lifetime ago and I haven’t really talked about it much here on my blog. It was during this time that I finally realised that I LOVED creativity, new ideas and just plain creating, but anyway that might be another story for a different blog post.
One of the exercises I would run in my classes was a very similar exercise designed to warm the class up, get them thinking and innovating. I’ve adapted the exercise a little for artists, so we are working on trying to come up with different ways to communicate an item such as a mushroom, a leaf, a robot etc. through drawing it in various forms. It is not a new exercise and I’m not claiming to have invented it but I really think it is a worthwhile one to add to your artist routine.
Drawing a lot of items quickly is a great way to train the hand-eye coordination and so improve your drawing skills. It will also help you to find a unique language to communicate your ideas to the viewer; hopefully through this you will start to see what styles and looks appeal to you and so help you to develop your unique style.
Another great benefit is that this type of exercise bypasses the more analytical parts of the brain. The point is to get a lot of ideas down quickly and not to judge those ideas, that comes later. The more forms of the subject you can get onto paper the more you can work through the rubbish, same old, same old ones and develop those special, only you can come up with ones. And a happy offshoot of this is that it helps you to build up a portfolio of motifs you can refer to and build upon in the future.
Now look back at the page, or pages, you have just filled with mushroom designs and sketches. Are there any that you are particularly fond of, that just jump out at you? If there are then circle them. If there aren’t, don’t worry, this happens too and it might mean that you need to do another 20 now that you have the rubbish ones out of your system or it might mean that mushrooms just aren’t your bag. Don’t overthink it!
You can do one of two things now. If you are really in the mood work up your favourite mushroom designs/sketches into a new piece of artwork. Or file the paper/sketchbook away for now and refer to it again when you are looking for some mushroom inspiration.
Make A Commitment
As with all walks of life, practice improves everything, so if you are committed to improving your drawing skills, expanding your motif repertoire, building your artistic confidence and developing your style then promise me – no, scratch that, promise yourself – that you will come back to this exercise tomorrow and do 30 different robots, or 30 different flowers, or 30 different… well you get the idea. Hey, do 50, I ain’t gonna stop you!
Oh and some of my regular readers may remember the two early sketches I did when I started my Art Slice Video series back in the Summer, you can see them above or catch the videos on my YouTube channel: ‘Tribal Pattern Pineapple with watercolour and pen’ and ‘Watercolour Watermelon’. Both these projects came out of this very exercise.
Have fun with it and feel free to share any Rapid-Fire Multi-Drawing Exercise pictures that you do with me on Instagram, tag me so that I can see them! Boy, there must be a better name for this exercise than that?
UPDATE: If you want to join in and share the results we are using the hashtag #DellowDailyDrawing over on Instagram. See you there!
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