Most of us know by now that the lack of time isn’t the main reason why people fail to stick to their habits. Overcoming the resistance to start — that’s the real enemy. I have whole drawers of art materials at my disposal, and despite my busy schedule in grad school, I still have time to watch random Youtube videos and reply to my friends’ messages on ALL my social media accounts.
So what’s stopping me to practice drawing like Da Vinci everyday? Maybe because I lack the grandeur of being part Sforza’s court? Is it because I lack his fashion sense? Do I need to buy a pink robe to channel his style?
According to his biography by Walter Isaacson, Leonardo walks around the city with a small notebook tied to his belt and uses charcoal to sketch people with interesting facial features. He’ll take them out for a drink, and will observe their facial expressions and exaggerate them in his drawings.
Of course, I don’t have his skills of drawing from memory yet nor his artistic sensibilities to be able to incorporate his imagination in his realistic drawings. But I can use his habit to sharpen my skills and practice my craft.
I simplified my drawing essentials into this short list.
Small Sketch Pad
I find that being able to fill a whole page every drawing session motivates me to draw more. By using a smaller sketch pad, I can easily fill several pages in one sitting. It even looks prettier on pictures if I decide to share my progress with other people.
I went to the local bookstore and bought a bunch of them.
I’m used to the graphite pencils (several of them) crammed in my tin drawing case. For more structured drawing practice, I might have to take the whole collection out, but for everyday sketches, I found that I don’t need the whole bunch of them.
Learning where to put my lines is so much more important that learning how to render the drawing. Besides, if the need arises, I can still use the hatching method by Da Vinci to render my drawings. It’s much softer and smoother than if I try to shade my drawing the usual way.
The mech pencils I always take with me are Pilot 0.5 H-325 and my Muji Pencil.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to do repetitive things to calm myself — knitting, cleaning or modifying my mechanical keyboards, drawing repetitive lines and dots.
My most favorite subjects are plants and flowers, and in my January sketches, I created my floral drawings with repetitive strokes and points. For that purpose, I use Sharpie markers in varying colors (black, purple, and gold) and thickness.
Improving my drawing skills is definitely a difficult feat, but simplifying my drawing essentials will make each step a little bit easier.