Module 22 — Coping with TMI

Have you ever gotten frustrated sketching on location because there are just too many great possibilities . . . but none that seem manageable in the 20 minutes before you have to meet your travel companions for lunch? 

So, you bail out to taking photos instead. And maybe one really awful, rushed sketch. 

Then you wind up back in the studio with a bunch of photos that you don’t know what to do with.

This used to be me. All. The. Time.

It was not fun. I wasn’t improving my sketching, or learning to take good reference photos, for that matter. 

Module 22 Thinking Prompt—Why Are You Sketching (Today)?

Why do you sketch? 

  • Gather information for a specific painting? 
  • Practice drawing skills? 
  • Create a record of your travels for yourself? 
  • Share your travels with someone else? 
  • Focus your attention? 
  • Enhance your appreciation of the location? 
  • R elax and enjoy the world around you?

Why Are You Sketching Today?

When you arrive at your sketching location, do you take a moment to reflect on which reason is today’s reason? 

Do you adapt your process and subjects depending on 

  • your purpose for sketching?
  • the time and materials available?
  • your energy level? 

How do you choose a subject when you’re sketching on location (especially when time is tight)? What if you only have time to capture some of the information?

What Kind of Sketching Do You Want to Emphasize?

Do you feel differently about your sketches depending on your purpose? If you want to sketch more often, can you give yourself permission to sketch for the reasons you actually enjoy instead the ones that stress you out?

Module 22 Activity Prompt—Twelve Tinies

It can be difficult to choose what to sketch when you’re on location, especially if you’re traveling and won’t be able to easily come back to the same spot to continue. It helps to have some plans for how to deal with that, so you don’t find yourself always defaulting to a bunch of hasty photos and one rushed, awful sketch.

One thing that can help is to capture small “sketch snapshots” instead of photos. (If you feel you simply must take photos, take them after you sketch, instead of before. That way, you’ll actually get some sketching done!

You can use pre-drawn boxes, or quickly make a grid, or simply draw anywhere and let your sketches run into each other.

Today, your challenge is to make “Twelve Tinies”—12 little sketches or partial sketches, each with ONE clear subject or theme. 

I like to keep reminding myself “big picture, with NO details . . . or ONE interesting detail”. Make them small enough that they don’t feel intimidating. Small enough that you don’t feel like you need to put in much detail, because you can’t!

You can use today’s exercise as an excuse to get out somewhere and sketch, or if that’s not possible, find a window to look out of, or simply use the space you’re in. 

Or, instead of a place, you can use a theme, like “12 things from my kitchen”. There are interesting things to sketch everywhere, if you look with an artist’s eye. 

Module 22 Journaling Together Video

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