Three sketches – #amwriting

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

Some people have been asking how my “sketch-a-day” practice has been going. I’m happy to report that I’m starting to be more comfortable with the eye-hand connection – e.g., what does this line look like? how far does it go? where are the shadows? how should I add shading to the drawing?

 

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

An artist-friend of mine, Elizabeth Guizzetti, who is a successful SF writer AND an illustrator (see more of her work here), saw that I was doing these sketches at one of our meetup.com co-writing sessions. Besides wholeheartedly endorsing my efforts to learn to draw, she made two suggestions: 1) try inking over my pencil lines, and 2) add shading or coloring-in. – Not to make the drawings look better, but to reinforce the learning I was doing about line and space. She was right!

 

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

On the first day of the class at my writing conference last week, we drew a map of a childhood home, and we used that map to begin an essay on how to write about childhood. Our instructor, Professor Sayantani Dasgupta, an accomplished nonfiction and fiction writer, and teacher (more about her here), wanted us to learn how drawing could enrich our writing practice. The “map of a childhood home” exercise dovetailed nicely with my practice of sketching from a photograph. Now that I’m home, I’m going to look for other ways to extend my writing practices to include drawing. How about you? What do you do that goes beyond your “medium” – whether it be writing, photography, textile arts, etc.?

22 thoughts on “Three sketches – #amwriting

      1. Sometimes it helps to register things better, isn’t it? Frankly, I regret the fact that I did not pay attention to my father when he tried to teach me drawing and the art of capturing portraits. Lost chances.

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      2. My father is still there but just that he is old, Theresa. But I would just like to pass a hug here because I know not what else to say. You are sketching now and maybe that is a tribute to your memories of him? xx

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  1. Beautiful sketches, Theresa!! I especially love how you shaded the space shuttle and the perspective from which you drew the umbrella.
    😊 I’ve had some success with the crosshatching shading technique, in case you wanted to try it out.

    Often I enjoy writing poetry based on photographs and creating sketches based on poetry. Either way, trying other mediums never fails to inspire! 🙂 Keep up the amazing work!

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    1. yellowfuzzyduck, thanks for the tip on cross-hatching! I just tried it on a new sketch this morning (of a Buddha statue) and that was a big improvement. Today I experimented with sketching “freehand” – no grid, no tracing. An art instructor I ran into yesterday was urging me to try not using any “crutches” – It was a mixed result. But, all part of the process of learning!

      I love that you do poetry from photos or visuals. Yay! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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      1. Funnily enough, this morning I tried a sketch freehand, but it was so frustrating I decided to try it a second time using the grid method. … and afterward, it turned out I liked the freehand one better. There’s a message there somewhere! 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Miriam! It still feels a bit awkward to draw an object, but from awkwardness come new insights, I’m learning. Especially because you’re an artist, your encouragement means so much to me! 🙂

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  2. I love the variation of shades on the coffee sketch! You know I’m obsessed with coffee…I remember one thing my art professor told me when I learned how to draw – she had us grab a set of pencils and do a square with various lines and shading for each one to see how the pressure and the pencil work together. I have never forgotten that. Thanks for inspiring me to play more. 🙂 I’m adding Zentangle to my writing exercises this week!

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    1. Wow! I didn’t know that you drew, Darlene! It does not surprise me, though – you have so many talents and facets. Thanks for the comment on the shading in this sketch. It’s a learning process!

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      1. I liked art class…but I was never one to stay in the lines. So I learned to scribble outside them and make the lines mean something worth staying in. 🙂 My favorite drawing is an abstract ant – I literally told a story using letters as the ant’s skin. If you look really close you can see it, otherwise it just looks like shading. Art is awesome and so much fun! I would highly encourage you to play with pens – it’s more permanent than paper and there are really cool ones that are pen brushes that are fantastic!

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  3. What an excellent question you’ve posed Theresa. And also you’ve made me think a little more about authors including maps as part of their books. This is very common with Fantasy fiction. I’ve always loved looking at the maps and now I’m wondering if the maps were created just for the reader’s reference or if it was a bigger part of the author’s inspiration. I will definitely be looking at any maps in books I read with a greater appreciation of the storytelling process.
    I had to think a lot about what I do that is beyond my medium – as I was thinking I glanced down at the small pile of scrap paper notes that I take while I’m trying to work out a design. The notes barely even make any sense when I go back to refer to them but then I noticed that I doodle a lot! All of my scrap notes with numbers and stitch abbreviations have one thing in common – in the margins are lots of circles and squiggly lines and other shapes. I’m wondering if these doodles are part of my creative process. Thank you Theresa for always posting things that make me think a little bit deeper and wonder a little bit more. 🙂

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    1. Hi Tami, I wonder the same thing – since you do the doodles consistently, I’ll be it’s a manifestation of your brain thinking and working out the design. That’s so cool!

      I read somewhere that Orson Scott Card (well-known SF writer) starts his books with a map as a way to think about his plots. I think his work is a little formulaic, but he’s very popular. Hmmm. ! Thanks again! 🙂

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      1. I remember going into the Sci Fi Museum in Seattle last year and seeing a journal open with doodles and first-draft words…I don’t remember who the writer was, but I felt like it was a kindred spirit because the doodles were similar to ones I do…and that’s how we know who the creatives are! 🙂

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