I do not recall completing a whole sketchbook with observational drawings before – ever! But this hand-made sketchbook was just asking to be drawn in. I made it from scraps of found papers, mixing papers of different colours and thickness. Result: every page is different. This randomness works great for me – it makes the process of drawing much more exciting. I do like a little bit of chaos.
When I first started with this sketchbook, my drawing was a touch rusty – as I haven’t been drawing regularly for years. I carried my sketchbook to many places, exercising my drawing muscle. Once I started drawing again all the advice from experimental drawing classes I ever attended started coming back to my memory.
Result – a year has gone by and the sketchbook is now complete. Even though one year is a long time to fill a little tiny sketchbook, it was still a big step for me. I learnt to give time to looking at things and doing things which are important to me. I started drawing regularly. I learnt to be kind to myself when the drawing didn’t turn out as I expected. I discovered that you can draw anywhere – even in the car (as a passenger of course) when the road is bumpy and you see things for about a second before they disappear. I learnt that when you draw the reflection of a person (on a train, for example), it is better as the person doesn’t realise that you are drawing them. Most importantly, I felt so happy every time I was doing a drawing, that now I am hooked and I can’t stop.
Other important discoveries I made:
British museum has got many artefacts, but the best thing to draw there is visitors: they are everywhere and they are generally either waiting in groups, or sitting on the floor exhausted, or drinking tea, or chatting which makes all of them perfect subjects for drawing. Plus, it is the most legitimate place for you to be an odd artist with a sketchbook – nobody minds.
If you sit down somewhere to draw, something extraordinary might happen. A student from Cambridge university might come and sit on a bench opposite and practice guitar, which is pleasant and bohemian.
Ordinary things that have nothing special about them are in truth extremely complex and beautiful. Like, this laundry drying rack. Or my living room which is just there in the background as you are sat watching TV after work. Top Gear was another great discovery this year, unrelated to drawing, but still great.