Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Suggested year-long project for improving your drawing skills

Borrowing the idea from German graphic designer Manuela Hoffmann, I have been using my Moleskine weekly planner as a sketchbook and doing some test doodles with my Pentel Color Brush pens and Prismacolor Premier Archival Markers. The former were hard to control as their dye inks bled through the thin planner paper, but the latter worked just fine with their pigmented inks barely showing through the back of the page.
While thin planner paper might not seem like an ideal choice for a sketchbook, it can handle pigment liner pens and most dry media like color pencils and wax crayons quite well. Now with New Year day long past on the year of the Ox, most retailers are significantly marking down calendar planners and many journals. Found a couple of nice choices at Borders this afternoon, a 3.5" x 5.5" Moleskine Daily Planner 2009 and a A5 size Paperchase multicolor journal. Either one would make a suitable replacement for my current Kolo journal which I use as my main travel sketchbook.
These small formats allow for the completion of small doodles and sketches on a regular basis anywhere: daily or weekly. So here is the mission boys and girls if you choose to accept it: pick your planner in a size small enough you can carry around comfortably and commit to doodling or sketching a page-a-day (or a page-a-week as your schedule allows). The prize: by the time you complete your sketchbook journal you are bound to have improved your drawing skills and at the very least sharpened your dexterity. The proof will be conveniently documented chronologically in your planner turned sketchbook. I would recommend picking subjects you enjoy to keep you focused (pets, fairies, mermaids, ponies, robots, dinosaurs, cars, rockets, etc), with some challenges mixed in to work on areas you might find somewhat difficult to draw (like "hands seen from different angles" and/or anything you know you want to draw better). By the end of the year, you are sure to end up with your own menagerie of fantastic sketches and greater confidence in your drawing skills.

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