http://thesketchmonkey.com I’ll see you over there!
Sometimes I have a task at hand and know exactly what needs to be done, but it is so hard to start doing it. It might be something like doing the dishes. Or going for a run. Or maybe I have some client work that needs to get started. When I pass the pile of dishes I think to myself “I’ll do it after I finish doing whatever it is I am currently doing”. And when I am done doing that I still push the thoughts of doing the dishes away. I know it needs to be done sooner or later, why am I procrastinating? It happens to all of us at some point. I used to do this a lot more often before, until I discovered a simple trick that always solves the problem and get the dishes done in no time.
Whenever I catch myself procrastinating I think to myself what the absolute first step would be in order to get the task done and then I set a deadline for myself. If you don’t have a deadline, you will let the task at hand fill out a time space that is unlimited, which leads to tasks taking way longer than they should. What I’ve learned is, as soon as you take that tiny little first step, the rest is easy. I am not saying getting to that first step is easy. I don’t know why but that’s just how it is, at least for me. All I need to do is get that tremendous amount of energy and motivation to transport my body into the kitchen and grab the sponge. I know if I get all the way to that point, I will not want to go back. After that point, I am pumped to do the dishes. It’s always that first step to just GET GOING that is so hard to overcome sometimes.
So if you’re like me when it comes to this, just remember to take the initial step as soon as you can. If you have sketches to do, put a blank piece of paper in front of you, grab a pen and draw a single line. If you have writing to do, open up notepad and write “I have just opened notepad and now I am going to start writing the things I need to write”. If you told yourself you were going to go for a run at 4 and now it’s 4.30, stand up and stretch for 1 minute and put on your running shoes. There’s no turning back after that amount of effort.
So to get things done, just grab the sponge and the dishes will be done before you know it.
Some people think that being able to draw and sketch is something you are born with. I guess I can agree to some extent but having talent doesn’t mean anything if you don’t nurture it. This brings me to step number 1 on how to improve your sketching.
Now, this is probably the single most important step out of the five. Without practice, improvement is impossible. Draw everyday. Draw on envelopes, draw in the sand on the beach, draw something with your finger on the mirror in the bathroom after you shower. Draw, draw, draw and then draw some more. This step will also let you know if you really want to become better at drawing, or any skill for that matter, or if it’s just a wish you have. You have to put in the time, simple as that.
2. LOOK AROUND
Take a look around wherever you are. Try to draw that scene that’s in front of you on a piece of paper. Keep it loose and don’t be too serious about it. Try to block out the main elements of the scene. Is there a mountain or a hill nearby? Maybe a horse is watching you look around from the field over there? Or are you overlooking a skyline of a city? What are the main buildings? Keep it loose. When you feel like you’re done, turn around 180 degrees and now sketch whatever is behind you.
3. PUT STUFF ON A FLAT SURFACE
Take an item that is close by. A coffee cup. Or a guitar. Yes, I am just looking at my desk right now and writing the things I see. A watch maybe? Take that item and put it on a flat surface preferably during daytime when you have natural light. Look at where the shades are and where the highlights hit the object. Is it glossy or matte? Shiny or dull? Try to sketch it. Put it down on paper. Now that you have a nice sketch of a coffee cup, try rotate it and rotate yourself around the object and sketch it from another point of view and in another light. Remember step 1.
4. COPY YOUR IDOL
I have a lot of artist I look up to when it comes to their style. I want to have their style and combine it with my own. So I try to copy what they do. I study their work and try to figure out how did they do it. How did they get it to look like that and why is this here and what is that thing over there. Did they draw this thing first or maybe they started over here? After I’ve thought about it for a while, I bring out a blank piece of paper or canvas and I try to copy their style. The funny thing is that in this process, you’ll notice that you’re already coming up with new and unique styles without even knowing it. You are trying to copy one style but there’s nothing that can stop your own default style from affecting the result. This is how you find your own, individual style.
5. WATCH MY YOUTUBE TUTORIALS!
Yes, I am shamelessly going to promote my own video tutorials on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/LexOrABenz). These are made for anyone who wants to learn about sketching and I try to cover as many areas as I can. If you want me to make a video about a subject that you are interested in just let me know and I will try and cover that in coming videos.
Now, I hope these steps will help you unleash your inner beast of an artist. Remember to have fun, that is the most important thing. Otherwise you might as well stop and spend time on something you enjoy doing. But since you read this far, I assume you will at least try and draw a stick figure on the bathroom mirror after your next shower.
Taking a short break from sketching and picking up the guitar.