Friday, September 28, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 2 - Alrighty then…

“Ten thousand bad drawings equals one good one, so keep drawing,” said the child to her mother who had exhaled deeply as she crumpled up another really bad drawing.

Between Week 1 and Week 2...this happened.

Since I had not been shown how to place objects on a page or how to determine my best choice for a focal point; since the critiquing I received was more about what I should have done with no real help in how to do what I should have done, I decided to call in the big guns.

That would be...Miss CP.

For those of you new to my blog, Miss CP is my daughter, Courtney, but more than that she is a designer in the animation industry, and she has a thing for life drawing. (she’s always at a life drawing class somewhere it seems)

To give you a peek into Miss CP’s drawing talents I’ve added this LINK so you can see her doing what she does best. Here you will see video submissions for a weekly illustration class she attends.

I might add there is one thing Miss CP does without fail, she practices her craft each and every day. 

I guess therein lies the message: to be good at something practice with some regularity, to be great practice daily; Miss CP is great. I called in the big guns (aren’t I lucky to have connections) and the first thing Courtney had me do was loosen up and draw circles...lots and lots of circles. The object being to duplicate the line by laying it on top of the previous line without straying. 

Not easy. Really, it was damn hard! But I persevered and after some length I was getting in the circle drawing groove. 

Then we dabbled with shapes; a little still life drawing and then ventured into a bit of perspective work. 

I left Courtney’s place feeling rightly exhausted but seriously exhilarated. 

So with that I did some practicing; each and every day.

Looking out of the Lost and Found (my writing space) I tried, I tried really hard, to capture the outer reception area of my studio. 

This is my reference picture. It's amazing what you see in a photo that you don't see in life.

Note how hard of a time I had (and still have) with perspective. The angle of the shelves in both units is wrong, as is the whole size and layout of the glass cabinet. 

I was able to get the last drawing to look a little better; better to what it was but no where near where it ought to be. (I’m trying to remind myself this was just the first week)

Okay, now we can talk about Week 2 - The Lesson.

With excitement coursing through my veins I arrived for my class yesterday (yes Carole, like an eager little beaver) and waited patiently for the room to be set up. 

But, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment, laced with frustration, as we were ushered in and put right to work “sketching”. 

Now, here’s where I’d like a little feedback from the artists in the crowd. I’m new to this “art lesson” business, but am I wrong in assuming that when learning the basics I should be “shown”, by example, what the whole "sketching an object" process looks like. After all, I’m a visual learner, this is an art class; I am feeling like the instructor is holding out on me.

It’s like going to a cooking class and being given all the ingredients but no instructions or demonstration; the instructor then says, “okay, start cooking” - sorry, that’s not what I signed up for.

BUT - I don’t quit. Ever the optimist, I’m hopeful things will get better. (meaning both the teacher and the student)

AND YET...I do feel like I am getting something out of it all - the subliminal message might just be that I need to practice patience as I try desperately to have my apples and oranges look more like fruit.  (just for you, Drake - you cheeky boy)

So, in Week 2, we did three different takes, here’s the photo of the first set.
 And my version...

Then the last set - this is what I saw, or should have seen would more like it.

And here is what I drew. Now, you need to know this was a three part drawing.

Part 1 - 30 second line drawing, sort of like a cityscape, no lifting the pencil

Part 2 - correct 30 second line drawing (yes, I am laughing too)

Part 3 - learn about shading (like this should be a lesson way down the road - I’m still trying to place objects on the page for crying out loud)

Thankfully, Miss CP came for dinner last night - we had a “session” - I’m thinking more along the lines of therapy as the kind of session I’m in need of!! But then they say art is therapy - like, right!!

Courtney really gave me a great follow up lesson, which I practiced this morning with my two cups of coffee.

Here is the picture and a shot of my “practice”…

This was a fun practice session. I am learning that rushing into the details before the actual perspective of the drawing is correct leads to lopsided furniture! Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I can't wait!

Well...that’s my life in the art lane, this week!

And you...have you been frustrated about how something has been taught to you?  Would you make a good teacher?



  1. Well, as you say Jenny, thank heavens for Courtney! I've been to many classes where I have felt a little cheated. The class is always for beginners, which is what I am, but then you find that the other people there have obviously done this subject before, and I ALWAYS find that the tutor spends more time with them, and I think Hey, this is just not right!! It was lovely to see Courtney and, my goodness, she has a real talent there. You certainly seem to be on the right track to me looking at your work. Just remember, practice, practice and more practice! Good on you for not giving up on the class though.

    1. The great part is "Courtney" and my weekly session with her, it's the bonus that will help me make steady strides (read baby steps) forward.

      The teacher seems distracted and unprepared. While I am all for jumping in and getting to it, I'm just not sure this is the right thing for me. The last time I was in formal art classes I was in high school and college - over 35 years ago. I felt I was a "beginner" again and therefore wanted to refresh all the foundational skills with still life drawing (an area I was not all that found of, if my memory serves me correctly) so I really want to get the handle on it now.

      Anyway, it is early in the game, I hope the teacher finds her own passion and brings it with to the next lesson. One can only hope.

      Thanks for stopping by, Diane and leaving a comment. Hugs, Jenny.

  2. - Draw this, then you can give up artclass and take your rightful place amongst the gods.

    1. Hey Drake - that video ROCKED - really, it was amazing. Thanks for sending it, it will serve to depress me and cause me to jump out my first story window whenever I don't quite feel I'm getting it! :P

      Seriously, though, that was some awesome talent. And, yah, if I could do that (should I dare to be my eternal optimistic self and say when) I will truly be a god and you, my cheeky friend, will do my bidding! Deal!!

      Thanks for coming out of hibernation for a look-see and leaving behind a note for me. (hey that rhymes - an artist and a poet, who'd'a thunk) :)

  3. I had no idea that your daughter had a blog Jenny, it's so cool to hear about her job, that's actually so awesome, she's obviously incredible talent from what you shared with us. I love all of your drawings so far too, you're getting really good at this and that's only by comparing the two!

    1. Hi Matthew - yes, Miss CP has several websites and blogs. Lately she's been amalgamating them so as not to have so many.

      Thanks for taking an interest in the progress I'm attempting to make with drawing, your encouraging words just keep me wanting to "get it right".

  4. It looks like you are getting it down, Miss Jenny Lou! Between that "instructor" and Miss Courtney, you will be knocking this stuff down in no time flat. And the next thing you'll be setting up yet another blog to sell your art prints on. (grin)
    Let me know what the opening price is. I'm in!

    1. Not sure about "knocking this stuff down in no time flat" but maybe getting the basic shape of an object and its position on a piece of paper right would be the start I'm looking for.

      I hope you see the humour in my art...the lopsided little drawer is representative of my skewed outlook on life!

      Another blog - are you kidding me...I'm thinking of shutting "The Other Blog" down as I am incapable of that much multitasking. Today, in fact, I hope to have the Black and White Wallet Series done...then I might be done with the wallet making. Let's face it - I was really only doing it for me, it sort of got out of hand. (literally out of it will get back into my hand to be finished) (sheepish grin for not being on top of it all the time) :P

    2. I can just imagine what trying to keep up with you would be like..... (grin) A fella would need roller skates.

      And plenty of coffee..

    3. Hehehehe - you crack me up. I sent the "mini novel" version of my reply behind the scenes - some reading for you, in lieu of that "cure-all" soup which would never clear customs due to its "medicinal" properties. :)

  5. Hi Jenny .. brilliant decision to get down dirty with an eraser - gosh you're doing so well - mine would look positively awful - congratulations ... and I'm off to look at Courtney's video - after I've posted this.

    I'd love to go on a cooking course - probably in Italy! I can cook, but it would be so interesting to do another course or two - we'll see how life unfolds for me ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Oohhh, cooking in Italy, can I come! I can cook too, but I'm more of a creator in the kitchen than a recipe follower. Don't get me wrong, I do have and cook from some delicious recipes but on the whole I am a scratch cook. (a little of this, a pinch of that, whatever is hanging around) :)

      Yah, me and my eraser are tight! I think it got a little jealous when I bought a backup! (grin)

    2. I want to come too! I absolutely adore Italy and have always wanted to go on a cookery course there - probably in Tuscany!!

    3. Wouldn't it be fun to organize a group cooking trip - here we come!

  6. Don't get discouraged, Auntie Jenny. You can do whatever you set your mind to (my Mom told me that)!!

    Love, Eira

    1. Awww, that is so sweet, dear little Eira - I will heed your words. Now, if only I can find my mind to set it - then I'd be off and running. Love back, Auntie J.

  7. I'd say your drawings of furniture, counters and other room paraphernalia are really quite interesting. Who wants to sit and draw fruit? Fruit is for eating.

    1. High five, Bill - I'm all for eating the fruit myself. However, I have no say in the class. In fact, we students are required to bring an item in each week for the table - mine was the picture stand - a sort of triangle shape of sorts. At least is wasn't round! :)

      Thanks for stopping by with your words of encouragement.

  8. I love watching you bring objects to life with your drawings beautiful
    Come Say HI

    1. Thanks Becca! I'm sketching daily and I've made the curtain and little drawer my project - there is truth to practice being the key. Even in these last few days, after more coaching from Miss CP, I'm feeling there is forward movement...I'm crawling, but it is forward!! :)

  9. I love colored glass bottles. Greetings.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Leovi, and taking a look! :)

  10. Someone told me once that practicing drawing a paper bag is good. You can crumple it, draw from different angles,etc. A good teacher encourages his/her students, and it is fun to draw furniture, and not always the old standard, fruit. And that old, "Draw from a photograph upside down. This way you see spaces and relationships. Congratulations for beginning your art class. And remember, your daughter got her talent from someone. . .you.

    1. Hi Loverofwords - it appears the reply I wrote to your comment never made it into this post. So I will venture to rewrite it...

      I couldn't even imagine how difficult it would be to draw a crumpled up paper bag - I'm still trying to get balance on my page with placement. But I do think drawing something other than fruit and vases is important.

      I looked into "Drawing from the right side of the brain" - by Betty Edward, where she teaches the "upside down" drawing technique. I promptly put a hold on a copy from my local library - where I will give it a try. (I like borrowing art books before rushing out to buy them otherwise I would need to build a small library at home, as I do a lot of reading)

      I appreciate your last sentence...I hope I can do my daughter proud with the extra help she is giving me.

      Thanks for dropping in and taking a look and leaving a comment. :)

  11. Anonymous7:26 pm

    I think you are doing a great job! Perspective and capturing real life objects is challenging!
    I didn't enjoy the 1 real life drawing class that I took in college- I was horrible at it. I would hope that your class would be challenging and FUN (not frustrating and disappointing!)- I hope it gets better.

    I love your attitude :) I figure that you can get what you want out of a class (even if the teacher is a dud) by putting into it your own passion, drive and extra effort- which you are already doing by practicing and working with your daughter (which is waaaay cool, by the way!).

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks for the wonderful comment, Daisy.

      I'm sorry to read about your life drawing class being horrible. I can relate, to a degree - while this is far from horrible it is a long way from FUN. But, I am willing to hang in and give it my best efforts.

      I am very lucky to have my own private tutor; Courtney is very creative, and a patient teacher. In fact, that was something her Grade 12 Art teacher told me; she said Courtney would make an excellent art teacher - so I'm giving her some experience!

      Funny thing is practice really does work! (who'd have thought, eh!) :)

  12. I think I would make a good teacher. Goodness knows I like to run my mouth.
    As far as drawing, if I could ever learn how to draw convincing boobs on an Etch-A-Sketch, I'd say I was good to go.

    1. I think you would make a good teacher too - you've got a great sense of humour with a healthy dose of fairness running through some icy cold blood. The makings of a great teacher or politician.

      Ahh...the booby drawing, well, just put some oranges in the wrong place and Boob's your uncle. (oops, that should read Bob's your uncle) *grin*

      And, don't you just hate that Etch-A-Sketch was all about lines - hello, what about us circle people, or in your case boob person! :P

      In my book - you've always been "good to go" - and, I'll come along for the ride, anytime!

  13. Anonymous4:50 pm

    You've impressed me, Jenny. I see improvement and wow, hello dedication! When you take something on, you don't back down, do you? It's all or nothing! I admire your determination. Your daughter is amazing too - gee, wonder where she gets that quality from, mom?? =)))

    I'm so glad you're taking us along on your journey. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I am a bit of a nut job when it comes to follow through. I can, at times, be slow, but if I say I'm going to do something - I do it, and I try to do it well, or at least to the best of my abilities - learned that from the folks. Passed it on to the off-spring!

      The neat part is that Miss CP was (and is) willing to put a little time into me and my art aspirations. My ex was very artistic, I come from a family of artist so it seem natural for it to have touched my daughter. Out of all of us, she has the real talent and made a career out of it to boot.

      I hope the journey you're being taken on won't be a disappointment! We aim to please here at Pearson Report, but this may be a dud adventure and you might be wanting a refund! *grin*

      Thanks, Elsie, for stopping by and taking a look! :)

    2. Anonymous6:12 am

      That speaks volumes of you, Jenny. As a mom and as a person. Not only is Miss CP talented but she is giving too. Plus, she is willing to spend time with mom - hello: Jenny=cool mom!!

      Dang, let me figure this one blog + my free time = eleventy quadtrillbillgillion in a refund, right? A check is fine LOL

    3. Only eleventh quadtrillbilgillion?
      Boy you drive a hard bargain - I better not disappoint! Yikes, now the pressure is on!

      As to the stuff are too sweet, thank you, sincerely, for the kind words.

  14. Jenny I've always said I can't draw or paint for nuts. Then I enrolled in a class "watercolour painting for the totally talentless" it was eyeopening - I CAN draw and paint (after a fashion) Next I purchased and followed the "lessons" in "Drawing on the right side of the brain" by Betty Edwards. I can draw! I don't dedicate enough time to it to become relaxed and efficient, but I know it's possible (there are only so many hours in the day unfortunately). Now I want to learn to draw fantasy creatures inspired by rocks, folds in the curtains and the like. I'm looking forward to another challenge :)

    1. Hi Sue - so good to see you here! Thanks for stopping by.

      I'm tickled to read your comment - good on you for giving it a go and then for continuing the adventure. I like the idea of drawing fantasy creatures inspired by to folds in curtains - I'll leave that for another lesson down the road. I'm just focusing on getting objects on my paper to look somewhat like the stuff on the table.

      I'm wishing you good luck on your next art adventure! And...practice is the key, so I'm finding out! :)

  15. Sadly not every one who goes by the name "teacher" can. I think you are certainly doing vey well considering you might not be getting the support you expected when you enrolled.
    I also think this is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your beautiful daughter enjoying a shared passion.

    1. Too true - I've had one or two "teachers" that really needed to find another profession. This teacher is a talented artist, and from reading comments, of former students, you'd think she rocked the teaching bit beautifully. What I'm picking up from her aura is boredom, disinterest and a tiredness. Maybe she needs to take a term, or two, off and reignite her passion.

      Yes, I'm so happy this is connecting me with my beautiful daughter - much needed quality time is being had and a bonding, over a shared passion, is being forged. (big smiles)

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. :)

  16. Aw Jenny! Your drawings are great! I especially love your curtain in your last sketch. About teaching...I have had the same experience before...sort of felt like I was not getting a lot of demo and having to grope in the dark. But then I heard someone say that in art you apply what you DO know (for example perspective or shading and so on) ...that is called SKILL. Anything beyond that is called STYLE. This helped me to just keep learning and applying what I am learning (which is a process that can be life long I think) and then allowing the "wrongness" of my art, for example one arm too long, or eyes uneven or whatever shine through. As your skill develops your style will change. Yes! just keep drawing (and of course consulting CP with your questions. :)

    1. What an incredible comment - I can feel your passion jump off my screen. I've long admired your "style" and you most certainly have "skill" to go with it.

      I am benefitting greatly from all this wonderful feedback and encouragement. My nature is not to take things too seriously which in the case of the critiquing I've received has been helpful in drawing my attention to things that I am not yet "seeing" clearly.

      Perspective drawing is definitely challenging, but I find it quite rewarding when I see the very slow but steady forward movement. I'm no where near walking, I'm still crawling, but then isn't that the most logical place to start; I keep reminding myself of this fact.

      My daughter has been incredibly supportive and uber helpful with her patience and very useful tips. I hope we will continue having our weekly sessions as it is a great bonding moment for us too.

      I should mention this course is at a local Community Centre and although this teacher is a regular on their program list I'm not sure how well vetted she is or if the Centre even does an end of class evaluation.

      So my next step, per my daughter's advice, is to look into a life drawing class, one she attended, next Spring. In the meantime my motto will be the old standby... "practice makes perfect". (whatever "perfect" is!!)

      Lisa, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such and encouraging and empowering comment. :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.