Thursday, 30 June 2016

We love scribbling, doodling and drawing - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

When we're not wrapped around a good book, more often than not Charlotte and I find ourselves scribbling, doodling and drawing.

I've had a lifelong passion for drawing and sketching, branching out into dabbling in digital art (thanks to a speedy little Mac mini, a copy of Manga Studio 5 and a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium tablet). Charlotte has drawn and painted from an early age and it struck me the other day just how damned GOOD she is compared to what I could draw like at her age.

At 8 years old, she's on the brink of moving between the two states that I believe artistically minded folk exist in. On the one hand, there's that blissful child-state of not caring a bugger about proportions, anatomy, perspective, form, composition, colour or realism. I wish with all my heart that artists could stay locked into that state. Some do manage it, some are extremely skilled at being able to draw like kids do, without stressing, without constant reworking, and completely carefree when it comes to criticism.

Cool cartooning stuff from Chris!
Charlotte loves to develop her own ideas and like me she often draws from her imagination. She loves tutorial books too (Chris Hart's utterly fantastic books in particular) but hasn't quite got to the stage of wanting to take things further and start applying those (horrible, in some cases) rules of form, anatomy and composition to her own drawings. However she's completely addicted to Christopher Hart's fantastic 'tutorial' books and has been working her way through these little beauties to get her cartooning skills up to scratch:

Chris Hart's books make drawing cool characters a real breeze!

I also love that she doesn't stress about what she draws with, or on for that matter. When I consider how much time I've spent trying to find the perfect pen or pencil to draw with (the Rotring Tikky range is a current fave and I also love Pilot's Frixion range if I'm going to ink something and need the safety net of being able to rub out. I also adore ink and nib just like great great great unc!) it's refreshing to see Charlotte dig any old stubby pencil or leaky pen out of her pencil case and just get on with it. Why do we adults always assume that our kit will somehow magically imbue us with more talent when really we should be able to do as she does and just knock out great art with a crayon!

With a couple of years of formal art training, I can honestly say that what I learned during two years on a foundation in art and design DID actually help me to appreciate and develop my (latent) skills but I really wish I'd finished my formal art education because I still slip into terrible bad habits. It was useful to see other people's work, hear their experiences and share the joy and pain of working on a piece to see it either triumph or fail when exams rolled around. Nowadays, Twitter is a godsend for providing that 'art class' type of community of like-minded scribblers (and professional artists who make us DROOL daily with their sublime work). All the topics like Sketch_Dailies, #ShapeChallenge, #Finishthescribble, #Colour_Collective and so many other art prompt tweeters really do help break the monotony of staring at a blank page and muttering "So what do I draw next?"

I wonder if Charlotte will carry on with art. I hope she does. Art has been an inspiration and at some points in my life it's actually saved my sanity, been like a soothing balm to rub on my mental wounds, I've filled sketchbooks and hard drives with work and over the last few years I've drawn more than I ever have at any other time in my life (and I can honestly say that if there's one piece of advice I'd give anyone, it's that you CAN draw but you'll need to do it daily to maintain any kind of consistency and style - the minute you stop, even for a short period of time, you'll really feel like you're getting back to square one once you do get back into it so draw daily, draw lots, draw anywhere!)