I never used to keep a sketchbook. I kept notebooks, which occasionally had sketches in them, but I was really too self-conscious and too self-critical to draw very much, let alone in public.
This year I’ve been getting over that. I’m still a bit self-conscious, but nobody’s tried to peer over my shoulder while I was working, so I’ve been learning not to be. And I’m still quite self-critical, but not so much in a way that stops me trying anymore, usually because I can see how to improve what I’ve done. My drawing class (which I wrote about here) has helped with this, but I think I would have got there on my own, anyway, because I don’t always agree with my art teacher. He’s always trying to get me to draw straighter lines, but I’ve realised that I like my wonky lines, they’re a part of what makes a drawing look like my work, and not an imitation of someone else. (I sometimes find that the way my teacher wants us to approach a drawing is completely counter-intuitive to the way I would do it on my own, and I have to flip his explanation around until I can get it from my own perspective. Even if we were drawing the same subject we’d start at different places on the page, and it’s not that I think he’s wrong and I’m right, it’s just that we have our own approaches to things; and that’s OK.)
I realised after doing a couple of these landscape sketches that I’d like my next sketchbook to be a little bit wider, because I have a tendency to scrunch my lines down to fit the page, and it messes up the proportions. It’s been interesting to compare the sketches with the landscape in these photos; I hadn’t looked at them all together and they really illustrate where my eye is drawn to — some parts are bigger in my drawings than they are in the skyline, because that’s what I focussed on. I’m sure there’s a scientific study in that, somewhere.
Anyway, here are some observational landscapes I’ve done in my sketchbook this year.
In the Dutch Garden in Holland Park. You can read earlier posts on Holland Park here.
The view across the playing field in Holland Park, towards what used to be the Commonwealth Institute but is currently being renovated to rehouse the Design Museum. My proportions were way off, but that building next to it was surprisingly complicated to draw, it’s full of angles that go in and stick out in odd places.
Parliament Hill bandstand on Hampstead Heath, with Euston Tower and the BT Tower on the skyline. Still getting the proportions wrong, because I was focussing on the detail… Three chocolate labradors with different owners came by as I was sketching, hence the punny note.
View from in front of the chapel at Kensal Green Cemetery. I blogged about my visit here.
At the Hill Garden — I blogged about this visit here. It got too windy and chilly to finish this sketch off at the time. At least what I did manage to draw was to scale, wonky balustrade columns notwithstanding.
Sat in the sun on my favourite bench on Primrose Hill, before heading off to see the roses in Regent’s Park. There’s the BT Tower again; it’s fun to draw. I drew the London Eye too big, though, you can barely see it in the photo. See what I mean about focus?
Do you keep a sketchbook? I’m thinking of making this an (irregular) feature on my blog and I’d love to include the work of others as well!