My journey to sketching on a regular basis didn’t happen overnight, or even very fast. You could say the habit grew on me. I had to first embrace the “Why?” of sketching daily. So, why sketch daily or near daily? The answer to that question for me is that, as a musician, I understand both the need and the power of regular practice to learn my instrument, and, therefore, how to learn to use my drawing and painting tools.
To put it in one sentence: It sets you free.
If I don’t have to think about what finger goes where on my cello, I can concentrate on the sound I make. If I learn the anatomy of an animal, including the human animal, I can concentrate on the gesture, light, or emotion of the painting or drawing. That isn’t to say that once you know how to draw anatomy that you never have to do it again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. So, I practice my scales on my cello, I practice drawing animals and ocean waves, as well as everything else on a regular basis. I want to have the skill to draw or paint anything I can conceive of in a realistic manner. That is my “Why?”. Sketching and painting from life whenever possible is one of the practices I use to eventually achieve those skills.
I can’t always make it outside to sketch wild animals from life so, for practice, I often turn to the live webcams at Explore.org. Here is the challenging part, I leave them running live instead of freezing the feed. Having said that, it is OK to stop the feed to get a detail here and there if need be but most of the time it is moving, just like in life. The photo above is a view of my desk where I like to sketch from the webcams. Today is a cold day with snow in the forecast. I am thankful I can still practice sketching animals from as close to life I can get. The final sketch isn’t a masterpiece or even a finished drawing. It can be used as a reference or starting point in a finished drawing or painting.
Do you already have a regular sketching or drawing practice? If not, I hope this helps to get you on the way. Feel free to leave a comment about what you like to do for your regular practice or ask any questions!