What I Do When I’m Not Sketching

I had coffee with a friend today.  He asked me if I’d been sketching.  I said, not since Monday morning when I went to a restaurant to sketch with friends.  I said that I’d been too busy with life stuff, including a trip to the doctor.  We moved on to other topics.

On my walk home, however, my two remaining neurons fired over this statement.  I thought about it and smiled.  We all have definitions of ‘sketching’ and, I guess, mine is that a sketch is something that I’ll post somewhere on the Internet and I hadn’t done any of those since Monday morning and I was talking to my friend on Thursday morning.   As George Takei is fond of saying “Oh my….”

It occurred to me that people who follow sketching forums get a glimpse of what we sketchers do and that this glimpse is false.  It’s false because we sketchers are picking and choosing what we post.  What gets left out are, obviously, the really bad screw ups.  BUT, at least for me, I rarely post any of the constant stream of quick sketches that I do every day, all the time, in a cheap notebook that I buy at the dollar store.

At the risk of embarrassment, I thought I’d give you a different ‘glimpse’ of what I do as a sketcher.  What follows are the pages from that notebook that I’ve doodled on over the past three days where I was “too busy” to sketch.  They were done while watching the news, watching a YouTube video, at the doctor’s office, and during the round trip to and from there.  I apologize for the poor scans as I did these quickly and the paper is thin/cheap.  There’s some ghosting and maybe some bleed through.  Afterall, “it’s just a sketch” (oh how I hate that phrase).

2013-12_1 2013-12_2 2013-12_3 2013-12_4 2013-12_5 2013-12_6 2013-12_7 2013-12_8 2013-12_9 2013-12_10

I hope you didn’t laugh too loud and that my already lowly reputation as a sketcher hasn’t been impacted too much.  Hand-eye coordination and the ability to ‘see’ come from continuous (incessant?) practice.  I’m always surprised at how many seem to have a hard time finding “time” to sketch as these couple dozen sketches were done over three days when I was ‘too busy’ to sketch.

3 thoughts on “What I Do When I’m Not Sketching

  1. They are little “studies”. It’s how we practice and learn. Not laughable at all.


  2. You are absolutely right about the selective editing that goes on in deciding what to post online. If I don’t post for a while, it’s not because I haven’t been sketching, but because I haven’t done anything I feel ‘post-worthy.’ But my everyday sketchbook looks very similar to this and I like the idea of demystifying the sketchbook process, especially for people new to sketching and overwhelmed by the ‘finished’ stuff online. Thanks for sharing. Love these sketch pages.

    • It’s funny. The internet has provided a wonderful place for newbies like myself to learn from good artists, from dialog with them and by looking at their actual work. But, like most things, there’s an upside and a downside and the one glaring downside is that it reinforces the ‘oh…you are so talented’ view that newcomers have of this whole process we call art. It’s like going to hear a master pianist and walking away saying “wow…he’s so talented. I could never do that” without ever seeing or acknowledging the hundreds/thousands of hours of practice behind the performance.

      Cheers — Larry

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