Practising self-care is more important than ever, which is why it’s important to engage in activities that are beneficial for your wellbeing.
Sketching can have a positive impact on your mind in different ways. It can relieve unwanted stress and tension, naturally boost your mood and even improve self-confidence.
The Shoreditch Sketcher, Phil Dean finds that sketching helps him reduce stress and provides him with a much-needed break from the worrying aspects of daily life – health, mental wellbeing, finances, work, and the future.
Phil vouches that getting into the swing of sketching is a lot easier than you may think. To help all budding artists or anyone looking for an escape during lockdown 3.0, he shares a few tips to help get you sketching.
Set yourself a time limit
It can be useful to give yourself a time limit on your live drawings. This helps to focus the mind and instil your drawings with energy, and it forces you to move on to another view. Quick sketches often capture much more than an overworked piece.
Work in a medium that you feel comfortable with
I love drawing with a pen – straight in, with no pencil. But I’m very aware this requires a lot of confidence and my advice to beginners is always to start with a medium you feel comfortable with. This might well be pencil or charcoal, both of which are quite forgiving.
Stop and come back to it later
Don’t be afraid to call time on a sketch even though it’s not ‘finished’. Remember, you are the one to decide what’s finished and what’s not. A great tip is to take a quick photo of the view you’re sketching on your phone and then use the image as a reference for adding more detail, tone or colour after the live sketch.
Keep at it
Practice makes perfect, and a sketch a day is a great way to train your eye. Draw mundane things such as bus journeys, sandwich shops, mugs on desks and drab buildings. You’ll quickly become adept at looking for interesting views and turn your sketchbook into a journal.
A drawing is not a photograph
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to faithfully capture the scene you are drawing, as you would expect to in a photograph. A drawing is an expression of what you’re looking at, not an exact reproduction. Keeping this in mind will loosen the shackles of realism and help you be more satisfied with the finished result. Don’t get hung up on the mistakes – learn to celebrate them!
I like standing to draw as it gives me space and the impetus to work quickly, but for beginners, less-confident artists and people who work at a slower pace, a seated position is more comfortable and allows for more accuracy. Find a location where you can easily sit on a wall or chair to give yourself more time to capture the scene.
Some artists prefer to have lots of kit, easels and large-format sketchbooks, but I find the less encumbered I am by the kit, the easier it is to focus on the job at hand. If you always travel with a small selection of pens and an A5 sketchbook, you will be able to set up camp and get drawing quickly wherever you are.
Pick a subject that interests you
There is absolutely no point in sketching something that doesn’t get you excited. The fact is, you’re more likely to get a great result with something that interests you. Start with whatever catches your eye.
The Shoreditch Sketcher has launched a range of products that are keeping budding artists busy and reducing stress throughout the pandemic. Products are priced from £9.99 – £69.95 and available to buy from the website and Amazon