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Sometimes, when it comes to drawing, ignorance is bliss

One of the key lessons I’ve learned in Sketchbook Skool (SBS) is that, when drawing, it’s important to focus on what you actually see, rather than what you think something should look like. So, if you’re drawing an orange, it’s important to look at the orange you’re drawing and draw the shape of the orange as you’re looking at it, rather than simply drawing a circle because you think oranges are round. I’ve tried hard when drawing not to name things but simply draw lines and shapes but then I find myself subconsciously falling back into old habits and drawing my dog’s nose and his eyes and realising that I’m relying on my memory of them as much as I am on actually looking at them.

This week I drew what is probably one of my most successful drawings to date and it was only when I posted it on the SBS Facebook page and read on of the comments that I realised why that might be.

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The drawing is of my daughter’s vintage typewriter. I’ve never used a traditional typewriter; I bought this on eBay as a gift for her a couple of years ago. Because I’ve never used one I’m not familiar with the parts, beyond the basic housing and the keys. It was only when I saw a comment from another SBS student referring to the “platen roller” that it occurred to me that I didn’t know what any of the parts were and, because they were so unfamiliar to me , when I was drawing it I was focusing very hard on what line connected to which other line. I was drawing what I saw because, although I had a vague idea of what a typewriter looked like, I wasn’t sufficiently familiar with it’s workings to be able to draw it without really looking as I worked.

I want to try some more drawings now of similarly unfamiliar objects to see if it is their unfamiliarity that is helping me to focus and produce better drawings. Or perhaps this was just a one-off, we’ll see. But I do know that this one drawing has increased my confidence enormously, not least because Tommy Kane commented on it with a “Pretty Awesome” – thanks Tommy, you made my year!

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One Comment on “Sometimes, when it comes to drawing, ignorance is bliss”

  1. Thats a fantastic typewriter! I find machinery and objects like this with a lot of detail really hard to tackle so extra kudos! X


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