It all began with deciding to go ahead and post a photo each day of something my cats were doing that day or the day before, artsy, cute, innovative if I decide to play around, and sometimes add in a vintage photo or a photo of a cat I’ve seen in my travels. The problem is never in finding on, it’s in finding only one!
We’ll be playing around in the tub.
Practice, man, practice. I’m not going to Carnegie Hall, but nonetheless all creative people need to practice their skills regularly, and that includes artists.
You’ve all seen my finished artwork, now here is a chance to see the underpinnings of that—the humble, simple sketch.
This is one of my daily sketches of my cats, done in pencil on drawing paper entitled Three Cats, signed and dated 12/3/11 of three of my kitties curled together on the bed. From the left is Jelly Bean, Mewsette and Giuseppe. I could picture this one as soon as I saw them, and it was all I could to to sneak soundlessly away so I didn’t wake them to get my drawing pencil and pad.
The daily sketch is a simple, quick impression of an everyday occurrence, in real time, but I wanted also to remove as many of the inhibitions to doing quick sketching as I could. The promise is for me to do a little bit of art each day when, some days, I’d do none, but I set up some guidelines for myself so that I wouldn’t fall one of two ways: trying to create a masterpiece each day and overworking a simple scene, or doing basically the same thing each day in the same medium and possibly the same subjects. It is to take no more than 15 minutes, preferrably no more than five minutes, and be done from life, not from photos, so that I have the challenge of thinking, literally, on my feet, since I’m usually standing when I do these, and I should let myself visualize what I will and render it in the medium I choose so that I also have practice in both visualization and working in different media each day. I have a bag of pencils, pens, markers, chalk pastels, oil pastels, watercolor pencils and several different papers, all at the ready. When I see my subject and visualize the possible finished sketch, I have the materials near so that I don’t need to go digging and find a good place to draw and worry about lighting and such—I just do it.
I’m quite proud of the sketch above, which was, literally, the first in this series, and I’ve also seen myself grow into new styles and new media, develop confidence with media where I felt I had little skill, and be able to accomplish more in a brief period of time than I could when I began.
And also that, when I approach another work, whether done from photographs or from life, I approach that with more confidence as well.
I endeavor to do at least a small sketch each day as a warm-up to my aesthetic senses. I’d fallen away from this for a while just in the busy-ness of every day, but I’ve been happily at it again consistently enough that I can post one nearly every day as well as my daily photos. Both of these activities give me the incentive to do more and different work, to experiment, to be inventive and “in the moment” with the subject and also with my ideas, something that’s rare in my daily tasks of commercial art. In addition, I can share it instead of finding these things years later in old sketch books.
Read more about my Daily Sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.
Click here to see other daily sketches, and note that I also offer these for sale. For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section. I don’t want to list every single one so I have to decide by my own arbitrary and subjective method if I think someone somewhere would like to buy this sketch. Some of them just look like sketches other people would like to have in their home, so those are the ones I post for sale. If you don’t see one on Etsy you’d like, send me an e-mail—it might have been sold, or I might just have just thought it wouldn’t be as appealing as another.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.