Sometimes I take to Twitter, asking my followers to make requests of people they want to see me draw. I really like doing this because it gives me practice working quickly, and makes me draw people I normally wouldn’t consider drawing. These quick sketches are usually done sitting on the couch in front of the TV with a sketch pad on my lap, a fist full of pencils, and my laptop on the coffee table. It’s a low-stress, relaxing way to hone up on the basic skills I don’t really employ when I’m tackling a big, pre-planned painting.
I’ll be the first to admit that these sketches aren’t great— but it’s practice. It’s so easy to fall into the same patterns when you work, picking familiar faces and features— so when you say, “Hey- someone name a person for me to draw!” it forces you to do something new. Because I’m curled up in my living room, I choose to work with pencils…they’re not going to make a mess like paint, charcoal, or pastel and they don’t require a lot of set up or clean up. With that being said, pencil is not usually my weapon of choice. I’m not really a “line-oriented” kind of artist. I tend to see things in relation to value, swaths of shadow, peaks of highlight, and variation in layers of color…so when left with a pencil and the precision of a line, I get a little queasy. “Uckk” is the only way I can describe it. I am always impressed by those artists with such a mastery of line work and contour drawings—it’s why I could never draw comics and I applaud people who can. But these quick sketches with pencils make me fight with lines. Would it be easier to pull out paint and mold a portrait with brushstrokes? Absolutely. But why avoid challenging myself when I can? Whenever I step out if my comfort zone, I say to myself: “If it were easy, it probably wouldn’t be worth doing.”
These quick sketches can take me 15 min to an hour depending on how large and complicated I decide to get with them. I go smaller and simpler when I get a lot of requests—but I always try to do them all. Not only is it great practice, but it gives me an opportunity to connect with my Twitter followers. I’m not really a social person—I’d like to be, but I get stuck when making initial conversation and I’m beyond timid when it comes to approaching other people (even on the internet)…so I love the opportunity to open up a dialogue with my followers over art. And I guess in a way they are a little token of thanks for acknowledging my presence in the vast sea of teh internetz.
So I’ve managed to dig up a bunch of the sketches I’ve done for followers in the past as well as a few recent ones:
So if you’re following me on Twitter, keep an eye out for my sketch requests– I’d love to do one for you! And feel free to say hello at any point– I enjoy talking art and always appreciate when someone prods me out of my shell.