“In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.” – Pablo Picasso.
I’ve indulged in a little sketching, over the past few days. If you practice art, then sketching is a vital part of art practice. If you are not one for dabbling with art, then sketching can simply be a way to enjoy relaxing. It can also be a way to record simple things that you observe around you. Some people enjoy sketching as a means of therapy; it can be a good way to distract from difficult emotions. Conversely, sketching can be a way to focus on an emotion, a thought, a feeling, a memory or an idea; by drawing the subject or something related to it.
As a, now retired, psychotherapist, I would recommend avoiding sketching a subject relating to trauma you may have experienced, unless you have the guidance of a mental health professional such as a counsellor or psychotherapist. Sketching in relation to trauma could trigger a ‘flashback’ to happen; where you can be taken to the traumatic event, in your mind, and feel as though you are reliving it. If you wish to sketch in relation to a trauma, then only focus on the before or after, so as to avoid connecting with the trauma itself.
Here, in England and the wider UK, the warmer seasons are finally starting; after what has been an unseasonably cold year of around three degrees celcius below usual temperatures. As we start to emerge more into outside living; enjoying time in our gardens and outdoor spaces, I suggest that you carry with you a pencil, sketch book/pad, eraser and pencil sharpener in any bag you have with you. This way, when you can find time for a short break, wherever you may be, you can sit down and simply enjoy the tranuility of sketching a scene that you feel inspired by.
Certainly, even if you decide not to take your sketching materials out with you, having them handy at home; for instance within easy reach on a coffee table, will mean that you can choose to sketch at ay time. Maybe you’ll have a fifteen minute sit in your garden, in the sunshine, and you will sketch your flowers or perhaps a visiting bird? Maybe you have a dog or cat that enjoys being still enough for you to capture their image in your sketch book/pad?
Don’t be limited to stationary subjects. For example, you may have a dog or cat that likes to walk or run about a lot? Well, simply sketch their movement. Perhaps your child or grandchild is running round in the garden? If so, in the one drawing, sketch them in different positions of their movement or use lines around their one image to suggest movement. There are many ways to express movement and so give yourself freedom to express that in a way that feels natural to you; there need be no rule on how you go about this.
Here’s a simple sketch I made while sitting on a kitchen stool and watching through my kitchen window. You’ll note that I have added in a record of the birdsong I could hear through the open window. For me, this sketch is a simple record of a moment in time and whenever I look at it, I am transported back to that moment, which was one of simple pleasure.
Do you sketch? Have you ever sketched? What do you enjoy sketching? Is sketching part of your wider art practice? Do you use sketching for therapeutic value? Please feel free to share something about your own sketching practice, in the comments below.
By Deano Parsons.