In March 2011 I read my wife’s copy of Danny Gregory’s ‘Creative License’ and started doing a drawing from life every day; this was one of my better decisions… Some days the drawings are tiny brief scraps, my hand on a table, late evening blear-eyed selfies in a mirror; some days they’re more ambitious, and at weekends and on holiday there are days with many drawings. It all adds up to around three thousand sketches! Over this time I’ve had the satisfaction of gradual improving a skill, I’ve made many friends in the lovely Urban Sketchers community, started a blog and got to grips with social media(…), learnt how to bind books, acquired a creative daily discipline, introduced the teaching of drawing into the school I work in, enjoyed countless moments of deep ‘flow’ while lost in drawing, and it’s subtlety changed the way I view the world (literally seeing it in new ways, with a heightened awareness of colour, tone, ‘notan’, and line angles!). Here’s the resulting leaning tower of sketchbooks; almost all home-made, and gradually getting bigger as the years have gone by.
And here’s an ‘urban sketch’ from my first month’s sketching next to one from last week, both in Bath. Over seven years the paper’s got larger, the line-work more confident, the subject much more immediate, and a personal drawing ‘handwriting’ is emerging. So, thanks to Danny Gregory for the original inspiration, and Sally for the book. If you’ve ever thought of taking up the daily sketching habit I recommend it without reservation; but making your own sketchbooks is completely unnecessary!
Very inspiring, Ed, and happy anniversary! I also started with Gregory’s book, but then I got the brilliant idea of going back to school… following blogs like yours keeps me on the scent of taking up the sketching habit again when time allows. It is such a rewarding hobby!
Thanks! Am I right that your studies are nearly complete?
I got cancer at the start of the second semester, which halted me a bit, but not much… 😉 After the summer I have one more semester to go, a paper to write and 10 weeks final clinical practice. With any luck I´ll be a registered nurse by February 2019. After that, my plan is to start a group of Urban Sketchers in Luleå, if I can find anyone interested. If they are not to begin with, I´ll talk them into it… 😀
Oh, Ed! This is so lovely. I’m sorry I haven’t been so chatty lately, but I’m regularly thinking back to our meeting in Brum, our little breakfasts in the cafe. The invitation of you coming to visit me in Bonn is still valid! Your latest sketch is a masterpiece playing with temperature, contrasts and texture. Many people will be completely fine with staying at the skill level of your first sketch, which was already good.
Hi there old friend! We’re still planning a visit to Germany sometime so will keep Bonn in mind. Thanks for the sketch appreciation, and I look forward to seeing more of yours… (And the graphic novel one day?)
So true and the best form of relaxation going. I also started taking a sketchbook and tiny Rowney box away with me on weekends and holidays after losing my wife to the dreaded big C in June 2010.
Since married and our best days out always include ‘fika’, the Swedish for a relaxed coffee and cake !! Like you, many of my sketches include the glass or cup in the foreground with the urban scene behind. Cruise days are great, different cities each day and a good choice of beer and cake.
Light pencil framed grid to arrange perspective and then Pentel 0.7 black and watercolours often including pale browns , ochres and washed out blues. People on some occasions are silhouetted and left white in the foreground.
Thanks for the great blog and stay out of that hospital !! See you at some point when you are over in Pembrokeshire again.
Thanks fellow sketcher! I look forward to my next inevitable trip to Tenby, lovely place. And sketching on a cruise sounds very pleasing; passing scenery and captive free models all around…
Ed, I have a similar history as yours to this sketching addiction, pretty much daily these days. Your early sketch and your recent sketch do have a few similarities. What I have discovered is that all sketchers have a style that is theirs, its like handwriting. I have tried to sketch in someonelses’s style, and it just never works. I have picked up an idea or two from others, as I am sure you have, yet my style is my style. Thanks for the sketches.
Thanks Terry, You’re right, we can enjoy exploring other sketchers’ styles, and can sometimes pick up the odd trick or approach, and this then helps develop our own ‘handwriting’ styles!
Wow, you are such an inspiration, Ed — your daily sketches, your commitment to experimentation and learning, your tower of books!! And I think of all the ways in which we have walked the same road at about the same time — beginning with Danny Gregory (though I had to read and re-read his book 5 times before it finally “stuck”), discovering the world through Urban Sketchers, the daily habit, blogging, sharing on social media, bookmaking, tool hacking. . . ! I can only imagine what’s next! Congrats, and here’s to many thousands more sketches!
Maybe it says something about my use of the internet and me but your site is a little patch of pleasure: harmless joy attracting lovely comments. May your nib never blunt and your paint never run dry.
Cheers Doug, I must have missed this one when you posted it!