I’ve been surprised at how my drawing practice is improving my awareness. My intention was on improving my drawing skills. Doing nearly daily drawing exercises has ended up giving me a greater awareness of my own reactions to challenges. This has not been so much about skill and technique as it has been in approach and enthusiasm.
I’ve taken drawing classes over the years, and back in the mid-1990s I took a year-long foundation drawing class. In that class we did still life, figure, and perspective drawing, in four-hour studio classes. I rarely ever drew outside of class. I took a marker illustration class, and barely got through my homework every week. I took a painting class. Same thing. I had some skills going into this, but I have always lacked focus and discipline. My intention was to work on improving my drawing skills and habits; I had no other expectations.
This drawing challenge fell into my awareness with an email landing in my inbox. I wasn’t particularly looking for a drawing challenge, although it was lurking in the back of my mind that I wanted to improve my skill and discipline so I could do more real drawing. It was a whim that made me sign up. But I committed to myself that I would do it. It was like when I started running: I did it for a bit without saying anything, then I told Mitch. It became part of my transition from my daily work to our evenings. I scrambled sometimes to get a piece done each day, and I managed the four bonus drawings. 33 drawing in all. I was aware of when I felt uncomfortable doing something, or when I could see I’d almost gotten it but it was a bit wonky. My awareness included what I liked, and what I didn’t.
Awareness Improved by Drawing: March Drawing-a-Day
This challenge gave me an awareness of joy, fun, pleasure, and just letting go. It introduced color into the work and I realized how having a too-limited palette was both no fun, and made me get creative.
Awareness Improved by Drawing: April Coloring Pages
This wasn’t really a drawing challenge and I wasn’t thrilled by it, but was busy so I just went with it. Done in four week segments, I got to try media I wasn’t aware of or had never used, and indulged in a few new colors of brush markers. It raised my awareness that planning, consideration, and patience all need to be a part of the mix. It also reinforced my distaste for metallic gold.
Awareness Improved by Drawing: May Shadow Drawing
This month is shadow drawing. Daily prompts mean daily drawings. These again are helping my awareness of needing to be loose, but having a plan, and executing in the time frame I have. The instructor/artist uses props I don’t have, so I’m giving myself permission to find creative substitutions.