Once when taking part in Artisans on the Beach and talking with a fellow artisan they commented that they didn’t know what to draw. I haven’t had that issue yet, there are always things to draw, the problem often is choosing which one to do next.
When I started I listed topics that I would like to draw and sometimes I would refer back to these lists but often I would see something and just go for it. Since I started keeping sketchbooks I usually have a sketch pad or book with me at all times. This means I can just draw at will if the opportunity arises.
When I first started sketching I followed the motto that, “if it doesn’t move sketch it” and I did, cereal packets, chairs in a waiting room, train carriage interior, salt and pepper shakers in a café… people would ask what if it moves – “take a photo and sketch it later”.
I am a prolific taker of photos using my current mobile phone or the digital SLR camera I bought in 2016 when we moved to Dorset. These photos may inspire a picture or be used as source material to refer to or draw from. I love to sketch in situ, currently under covid rules I can not just stop, sit / stand and sketch so I base work on photos more. My first ever public drawing with Urban Sketchers in London was at Borough Market opposite a stall on a Saturday lunchtime. I couldn’t draw people at all well so I waited for gaps in the crowd as I glimpsed pieces of the stall and background. I was fully focused until a lady asked how did I concentrate with so many people about – needless to say I ‘jumped out of my skin’. If I am drawing ‘live’ I am fine if others peer at what I am doing I just get on or answer questions if asked.
In the last year as I have been asked to draw commissioned pieces I often have to make an input on aspects of the subject and my extensive noseiness (observation / noticing) give me many examples to recall.
I have also had themes that I have worked on to develop my technical proficiency drawing particular things. Examples include: perspective, shading, trees, waves. Currently I am drawing even more water sport activity examples as it is an area where I want to combine my hobbies and my art.
As a geography teacher (and many other subjects from time to time) I would hand draw my own diagrams with extensive labelling. Of course being a physical geographer / geologist from my degree I liked drawing landforms and this has helped greatly in drawing landscapes as I have a great understanding of the properties that lie beneath the surface or the processes that shape them.
So, enough procrastination, back to the title question. To be honest if it is a commission piece it depends on the demands of the piece ordered. If just drawing for myself, it will be something that …has caught my attention, I have spotted, it appeals as something I want to draw better…
A few examples of drawings and why…<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-123416164-4715-6038160af1019' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=123416164&post_id=4715&origin=andyknillart.com&obj_id=123416164-4715-6038160af1019' data-name='like-post-frame-123416164-4715-6038160af1019'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>