A few weeks ago, I blogged about drawing and how it had never been something I thought I could do, but in fact it is. Since then, I’ve been making time nearly every day to draw or sketch something. I’ve been following a few tutorials from the internet, and have now got a book. My technique seems to be improving, but more importantly, I’m having a tonne of fun.
And not just fun when I’m actually using pencil and paper, either. I’m experiencing familiar feelings and sensations throughout the day: on my walk to work, at work, out to dinner, all the time.
I remember having similar feelings when I first started photography. I was no longer just walking along the sidewalk, I was actively observing the world around me. Back then, I was looking for intriguing compositions to photograph. Now, though, it’s different. I’m not looking for something to draw, but I’m considering how I would draw everything in front of me.
It seems like a slight juxtaposition – I’m examining the individual objects around me and reducing their figure down to basic shapes, while also comparing proportions to their neighbouring shapes, considering the scene as a whole.
Composition is no longer the primary thing I’m interested in when I’m walking out and about – it’s also shape, proportion, line.
I had originally written how I wanted to photograph less and draw more in order to improve my photography. I had tried sketching some on my iPad, but nothing really came of my interest in sketching until a few weeks ago. Until I actually put a pencil to paper.
It was the tactile nature of actually using a drawing pencil to textured paper that lead to a revelation: that I could enjoy drawing for its own sake. My efforts had stalled on the iPad because the device is incapable of reproducing the the experience I personally needed so I could recognize the intrinsic pleasure of drawing.
I had no idea that there were pencils specifically for drawing. I had always used an “HB2” pencil, the kind I took notes with at school. I always hated pencils because this one – the only one I had ever used – looked ugly. A light grey against a thin, cheap sheet of looseleaf. Gross.
But a proper drawing pencil running across a piece of sketching paper feels so much different. Just like I now take photos primarily for the experience – and only secondarily for the actual photograph – I’ve been enjoying the experience of drawing far more than my finished works.
My interest in sketching originally came from a desire to improve my photography, but in the process, I’ve found a whole new hobby and form of self-expression. It’s fun! I never considered that sketching would be anything more than a means to the end of improving my photography. I’m so glad I was wrong.