1 Month of Daily Drawing

Today I completed 31 days of daily drawing with the help of the Daily Drawing Challenge: Tracing Shadows course offered by Creative Bug. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon this endeavor and found this creative outlet and community. As the end of the school year wraps up, it is easy to get wrapped up in "busy" and lose oneself. Instead, I feel like I found myself in sketchbooks, watercolors, brushes, and other mediums. Creating has become my daily meditation practice that I look forward to each day. I look forward to the anticipation of what and how I will create something new. Each brush stroke and line drawing is an opportunity to learn something. There are no mistakes just opportunities. For example, in today's drawing, after completing a number of different shadow drawings, I chose to paint three of the flowers. Each flower looks radically different. Why? Because I tried something, got feedback, and tried something different. (I don't recommend painting over watercolor pens. It works much better to use the water color pen over paint.) 

As we move into the final days of school, that's what I wish for our classrooms, teachers, and students. The opportunity to create, try something new, get feedback, apply and repeat. Thirty-one days of daily drawing using mediums and techniques that were previously foreign to me has only solidified the importance of taking risks. Sometimes risks will be with bold brush strokes and sometimes they will be done with a 0.1 sketch pen. 

Another challenge begins tomorrow for the month of June. This time it's 30 days of painting. You can follow my creative journey so far on Instagram.

Week 3 of Daily Drawing

Day 15 - Thimbles #cbdrawaday Watercolor and Graphite flowerpots composition
The theme for daily drawing this week was definitely forgiving flexibility. I have learned to be more flexible with my time, materials, compositions and be ok with that. This week I experienced an unfortunate bout of food poisoning that incapacitated me for a good 36 hours. There was one day I didn't draw. That's ok. The next day, I drew twice. The morning where the subject was glass, I got up early to draw before going to work only to realize that I have incredibly boring glassware when it comes to casting shadows. Rather than wait until an evening trip to the dollar store for a more interesting shadow-casting glass, I found the most interesting glass I own which is a See Jane Run Half Marathon finisher champagne flute, circa 2012 and was quite pleased with the bridge rendition. If I hadn't been flexible with this solution, I would never have created this. Now I know to be on the lookout for glassware that casts interesting shadows to try this again. The list goes one this week with the flexible decisions, from no doll dress to a short search for a pinecone.

Day 16 - Glass #cbdrawaday Graphite Champagne Flute Shadow DrawingThis is what I appreciate about this creative practice is that over time it promotes playfulness and flexibility. My favorite composition this week was using the thimbles. My final creation looked nothing like the model provided. I did the model provided which became a draft (shown below). During this process, the upright thimble looked way more interesting upside down and the stamping pattern made by the top was more intriguing than the circles. Put them together, and no longer were they thimbles but rather re-imagined flowerpots.

Day 15 - Thimbles #cbdrawaday Draft Watercolors and Graphite
It supposedly takes 21 days to create a new habit. I believe this. Even though there are only 10 days remaining for this shadow drawing challenge, I see no stopping ahead. I may not be shadow drawing every day in June but I look forward to continuing a daily creative practice. Besides the forgiving flexibility, the increased observational skills, and calmness it brings me great joy and energy to learn and create something new each day.

You can check out all my daily drawings on Instagram.

Week 2 of Daily Drawing

My daily drawing journey continues with the help of #cbdrawaday. Day 14 was my favorite so far. The subject was thistle. Not something typically found around the house. So I packed up the sketchbook, watercolors, and other supplies in a backpack and hit the trail in search of thistle. What I noticed is that while I was looking for thistle, I was looking at everything with a more discriminating eye. The shapes of the clouds, the textures of the plants, the colors on the trail were richer and more vibrant. There was an abundance of thistle along the trails and I had the opportunity to be selective by noticing the different colors, the varying states of blossoming, and even the appearance of the thistles on the stem. Once my thistle subjects were selected it was an experience to create outside. Today was a sunny day with a blue sky filled with stratocumulus clouds. This became an interesting challenge when the shadows would disappear and reappear while completing the shadow drawing. It affirmed that the shadow is not absolutely necessary. The shadows merely provide a guide and once on the path, I can forge ahead even with the path isn't clear.  That is what I appreciate so far about this practice. Not only does it provide a meditative outlet and focus, it parallels life in so many ways. In this instance with the thistle, something unapproachable at first glance is transformed into something beautiful just by taking a closer look.

Below are a few of my favorites from the week. You can see all of the daily draws on Instagram.

  • Day 11 provided an opportunity to explore different lines, shapes and angles by shadow drawing toy cars. 

  • The subject for Day 10 was marbles and was another chance to play with watercolors.  Still learning so much about this watercolor medium and techniques through ongoing practice. I am loving working with watercolors. So much freedom and versatility.

  • Day 8 used faux flowers, in this case poppies, and watercolors as the source of shadows. This exercise allowed playing with layering of colors to generate texture and different gradations. 

Week 1 of Daily Drawing

For the last week, I've begun a creative practice by participating in #cbdrawaday offered by CreativeBug. The month of May is focused on shadow drawing which is a technique I have never done. The technique is surprisingly simple but tricky. It is essentially tracing but one is tracing shadows that are self-generated based on where you choose to position an object between your sketchbook and lightsource.

Day 1 was forks. Still obsessed with lettering, I chose to create them with letters after I had outlined them in pencil.

Day 2 suggested watercolors as a medium and clothespins as the object. I haven't used watercolors in ages but thankfully in my teacher supply stash I found a set of watercolors to use. I have forgotten how liberating watercolors are to use. There is something about the commitment of paint to paper combined with the softness of the medium that provides freedom to create.

Day 3 was suggested graphite as a medium and pitchers as an object. I've never used graphite before, with the exception of a #2 pencil and still don't really understand the difference between all the letters. It has something to do with soft and hard and leaves something to be learned in a future class. Still obsessed with watercolors, I used them as the background in a sketchbook that isn't intended for watercolors. Oops. Lesson learned.

Day 4 was scissors. What educator doesn't have a ton of school safety scissors laying around? This lesson introduced me to cross-hatching which provided the texture to the handles.

Day 5 was mini-trees with a mixture of graphite and watercolors. On a trip to my local Michael's to buy a bottle brush tree, I chose to buy a broader range of watercolors. What a difference between the standard school watercolor package and artist quality watercolors. The colors are so much more vibrant and it's even easier to use. Personally, I think this was a much better use of bottle brush trees than placing them on the dreaded 4th grade mission project.

Day 6 was mini-trophies and recommended water soluble graphite. The graphite I bought earlier in the week wasn't water soluble and given my recent fascination with watercolors, I needed to give these a try. Wow! Just Wow! I can't wait to play with these more.

Day 7 was leaves and didn't require a trip to the local art store. A line drawing done with a pen on hand and some colored pencils sufficed.

One week into this challenge, I appreciate the daily creative outlet. The variety in objects and mediums keeps things interesting. After a long day, I look forward to unplugging and experimenting and taking risks to create something new. It's a daily meditative exercise for the creative self. What will I learn over the next 24 days?