Thursday, October 28, 2021

T&T Thursday! In a Rut?

Getting Unstuck

By Gail Dokucu

As much as I love my art practice, occasionally I feel like I’ve hit a wall.
It seems that  all motivation and creativity have evaporated. I’m sure a lot of you have had a similar experience. I’m a big fan of Skillshare classes so I thought I’d share an exercise I learned last winter that helped get me back on track.

This exercise came from a class taught by one of my favorite teachers, Ohn Mar Win. While she’s not an urban sketcher, she does have a strong sketchbook practice and several of her classes center around sketchbooks. 

Ohn Mar Win “Daily Art Practice: 14 Day Mindset Challenge

Ohn Mar’s process is pretty simple: 

  • Every day, spend 6 minutes sketching one object.  Set a timer when you start; if you draw the object once and still have time left, start again from a different angle.
  • At the end of the 6 minutes, take a break, then come back to the sketch and do a short critique:  What worked?  What didn’t?  Did you enjoy the process or tool? 
  • Each day use a different tool - various pencils, pens and paints.  

I did this as well my first time through. As I went through the class, I did the 14 day challenge following her guidelines. I enjoyed it so much that I extended the practice and kept it going for another 7 cycles, filling an entire sketchbook.

Keep Going!

At the end of the first 14 days, I decided that I wanted to spend more time exploring various brush pens.  For each 14 day period, I chose a different brush pen - Pitt B, Pitt SB, Pentel ArtBrush, Pentel Pocket Brush and Tombow Fudenosuke - and stuck with it for the whole period.  

During the challenge, I realized that one of the things that keeps me from a daily practice is not knowing what to draw.  So I made a list of objects for the entire 14 days before I started; I did 14 days of art supplies, and got over a month out of things pulled from my kitchen drawers!

When I had filled the entire sketchbook, I went back through it and made some notes on my observations. 
  •  I found I had a strong preference for very soft, flexible brush pens like the Pitt SB or the Pentel Pocket Brush.
  • Sometimes I avoid sketching because I don’t have much free time, but I found 6 minutes to be a sweet spot that I could get to every single day. 
  • Having the list premade helped keep me on track too - no time spent each day trying to decide on a subject.  
  • While these were not urban sketches, the process certainly benefited my urban sketching practice.  It kept me sketching during a period of low motivation so that my hands didn’t forget how to sketch.
  • And the brush pens felt unwieldy at first, after 3 months I got so comfortable with them that they are now one of my favorite tools.

Even doing one round is a great way to get familiar with a new tool; six minutes doesn’t seem like much but it adds up and makes a difference over 2 weeks!

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