Happy New Year—Use the Small Moments for Sketching

January 1, 2015

141226_1000A_PepperLeft: First pepper sketch in a quick 3-part series done one morning in December while I was recovering from the flu. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in an 8 x 10 inch Hand•Book. A quick 3-minute gesture sketch of the pepper I was going to cook for my breakfast.

My first New Year’s Day while writing this blog came a day early December 31, 2008. I wrote, in my post for that day, about my New Year’s Day Ritual.

Since then I tend to write something encouraging, or tough love, each New Year’s to remind you of the necessity of setting your intention for the whole year, your whole life.

141226_1015A_PepperLeft: Second pepper in my series made about 12 minutes later (I had to attend to something after the first sketch). I turned the pepper to a different angle and went in for a different view and composition, letting it bleed off the page at the bottom. I also can see that I was having more fun, despite the coughing which caused me to pause my pen more than usual, playing with my line. This is also a 3-minute or less sketch.

I actually believe that you can start and set your intention on ANY DAY, but since I live in a culture that emphasizes the start of the new year…

So whatever day you read this consider yourself encouraged, exhorted, cajoled—whatever tone you need—to get busy making sketching a part of your life. Even if you aren’t well, as I wasn’t the day I drew these three peppers, you can find a couple minutes between activities (even if that activity is rest) to put in a bit of effort towards your art goals.

141226_1020A_PepperLeft: Final sketch in my “pepper” series. I made this immediately following the second sketch. It also took less than three minutes, and I can see my line is playful and comfortable. I know how freely my hand moved as I made these shapes. I remember the sound the brush tip of my pen made as I moved it across the page and made these marks. I remember that fun every time I look at these sketches.

My goal on this particular morning was to get something in my journal inspite of the body jerking cough that had been plaguing me incessantly for days. I wanted to feel the brush pen move across the paper, even if I had to hold my breath for several seconds at a time so I wouldn’t cough. I wanted to see that stark black ink across the creamy page.

I know that capturing what’s around me on paper cheers me no end. It isn’t about creating a great piece of art for which I have to be in tip-top condition or skill level. It’s simply about having fun with my brush pen, my eye, my hand, my brain.

Consider how you spend your time and start looking for ways to get some art fun into your life. Use this blog’s search engine to look for other NYD Messages. Or search for my posts on “fun factor” and find out all the ways I enjoy meeting the journal page. (My Gouache Compendium has lots of links in this vein because frankly I find gouache just about the most fun art supply I have, next to the Brush Pen, which you can also search for posts here.)

But best yet, go sketch a small series of something that catches your eye, your interest, or your love.

Do that right now and start your own sketching New Year’s Day Ritual.

  1. Reply

    Happy New Year Roz filled with days holding your brush and good health. What a way to start the new year, reading your post, you have succeeded in energizing my sluggish self, and for this miracle I thank you.

  2. Reply

    Yes Roz, I have sketched my Christmas Cactus that has decided to bloom in time this year. I picked few areas and made little snapshots of close up studies. Much like your pepper. I did add colors to mine as I am playing with my neocolorII and the new Stabilo Woody pencils to see how they react differently. A very different experience even though a very similar product.

  3. Reply

    We’ve got a pineapple I’ve been walking by that I think I might have to sketch Roxane. Glad you Xmas Cactus bloomed!!! I think studies are a great way to go.

    I like both neocolor II and Stabilo Woody but they are different. I find it easier to blend the Woody with my finger. I wish they still made the full 60-color set because I’m almost out of the very light blue they don’t make any more! And it’s essential to my blending!

    Have fun.

  4. Reply

    Don’t you just hate when they discontinue a good product that you are used to and like? I seem to be prone to like the things that disappear from the shelves. It never fails and makes me in a bad mood!!! The Stabilo woody seem to be pretty moist compare to the Neocolor II that is a plus when blending without moisture. The thickness of the pencil is a bit different though and I need to get used to it. I made a fabric holder for it, roll style. I am not sure if it the good way to store them, it ends up being quite a thick roll. I used Japanese taupe fabric that I like. Will see…

  5. Reply

    Roxane, it has happened so often that I’m pretty much stoic about it these days, though I do allow a little nostalgia now and then (for a brief moment).

    As for the thickness that hasn’t bothered me much. I’m pretty good at tilting it on an “edge” to get a finer line when needed.

    I’ve got the 60-color set of the stabilotones, which is what the Woody was when it was something else and so much more. And they have a case that keeps them well so I haven’t had to worry about that.

    If you are rolling them up that shouldn’t be a problem as long as they aren’t being slapped or slammed against something. You just want to keep them from falling and jostling against each other, and it sounds like you’ve done that.

    I don’t know why they had to give them up. I did a lightfastness test on some of my favorites and you can find it here

    The Woody is supposed to be a kid’s art material but the colors hold up well so I really don’t know why they did what they did.

    That post also has a color chart for the Neocolor II.

    What I like most about the stabilotone/woody is that it’s so easy to blend with my finger. Neocolor II is more difficult for that.

    However, since I can’t have the full range of the Stabilotone it’s great that we still have the Neocolor II!

  6. Reply

    Thanks Roz for the link and your input. You have made me so curious about the Stabilo tones that I am planning to hunt for used ones. I will be in France shortly for a month and have friends in Germany. That might help. If I find light blue ones I will let you know.

  7. Reply

    Roxane, you might have some luck in Germany since it is a German company, but they’ve been discontinued for quite some time so it will probably be difficult. THe light blue are VERY light. Number 437.

    You can find sets on eBay from time to time and readers have alerted me to those. But they want $350.00 for the set I have (which I got for maybe $75.00 for 60), so it’s one of those things that you just accept the “death” of, like your favorite paper (too many have bit the dust).

    Have fun on your travels.

  8. Reply

    Ok, note taken about the very light blue. Thanks for the good wishes. Just going home, my Mom is turning 80. She likes to go around with me to the “Brocante” and “Vide de Greniers” our equivalent of Garage Sales. That is where I am hoping to find some of the Stabilo tones to show up. Not leaving until mid Feb. though.

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