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!