Project Friday: DIY

November 20, 2015

150930_man-glasses-ABRLeft: Both images today are in a 7 x 7 inch handbound journal containing Nideggen paper. They were made during the same evening while watching TV. (I didn't stop for the first sketch; I did freeze the action for the second.) I added Montana Acrylic Markers in pink and blue to the first sketch. (A dark blue Montana Acrylic Marker was added to the second image.) I turned the journal 90 degrees for a vertical, for both sketches. I used a Pentel Pigment Brush Pen (a squeezy brush pen). Click on both images to view enlargements.

Today’s Project Friday is a little different.

It's Do-it-yourself.

I’ve posted two images in this post. They are intended to get you thinking.

I’d like to to reverse engineer your own Project Friday while you look at these two images.  

You can start from my subject matter, my paint, my medium. You can intuit a theme, a goal, or an approach.

Basically look at my pieces and see if you can decide where I was coming from when I decided to do them.

Make some notes, doodle, scribble, let the ideas flow. 

After five or ten minutes of thought write up an idea of what you would like to do for your Project Friday. You aren’t trying to do what I’ve done—you’re letting what I’ve done suggest something that YOU WANT to work on. It might be that looking at these sketches will make you think it’s time to work with handling a brush pen, or sketching a face, or working with mixed media, or working on toned paper.

Thinking about what might have been in my mind when I did these sketches is only a stepping stone to finding what it is in your mind that you would like to work on.

An example of how your thoughts might lead you totally away from what you see in my images in this post: As you look at my images you might think, "Wait, why isn't Roz sketching birds?" And that thought will lead you to think about the last time you sketched a bird and that thought will lead you to think about what you had at your picnic lunch that day and the next thing you know you'll be drawing donuts with acrylic paint—just because it appeals to you in the moment to do that; and you happened to have some donuts on hand.

Go where your thoughts take you.

Your Project Friday will have all of the above components. You’ll write down a theme, goal, approach, medium or media, subject, etc.

But it’s only in the underpinning structure that there will be any similarities. Your Project Friday will be from your perspective, based on what theme and subject and goals you have. Your Project Friday will come out of YOUR DAY, your week, your year, your goals.

Write all those down too: theme, goal, approach, medium or media, subject, etc.; even what your day, week, or year is like and how it is pushing you to this particular project.

Maybe what will bubble up is your ongoing, growing desire to develop a style. Perhaps you have a series waiting to come out of you?

You won’t know until you spend time with the blank paper, thinking about what you want to do.

150930_man-glasses-bCRBRRight: Second image from the evening. Light washes of gouache used for the shading. Montana Acrylic Marker background.


Why write it all down before you start sketching? You make notes so you can check those notes at the end and see if you got where you wanted to go. When we don’t take notes at the beginning sometimes we forget during the process where we wanted to go, or we get side tracked. It isn’t a bad thing to get side tracked, but we want to know when it happens because that means we still have those original goals to look at and work at.

And if we find ourselves always being sidetracked our notes will provide a reminder and roadmap to get back on track. Those notes will open the discussion: “So why am I always sidetracked from working on X and instead work on Y?”

When you finish sketching enjoy what worked and close your book. Come back to it tomorrow with a fresh eye. The moment you open your book to the page(s) of your sketch(es) note down what you noticed first. What needs to be worked on? What is a little off? What really worked? Did you meet your goals? Jot those things down to to reinforce them in your mind for your next drawing session.

If you met your goals, write a note in your journal congratulating yourself. If you didn’t, no worries, look at the results and think of some things you can try tomorrow that will get you to those goals.

Tip: You can play Project Friday: DIY any time you want. Go to your favorite art museum and wander through the galleries, picking an artist and studying a couple of images for 10 to 20 minutes. Or page through an art book, or check some art websites. When something catches your eye (good or bad) start up your DIY machine and start brainstorming for your next project.

Over time you’ll find that the project that comes to your mind has NOTHING to do with the images that started the engine turning. Those images got you to start thinking and asking “what if?” Ultimately your own desires will bubble up. 

It’s a great way to find out what’s on your mind, and what great new projects are waiting for you to pay them some attention.

    • Alison A
    • November 22, 2015

    If only I did have some donuts on hand… gonna have to go buy some now! 🙂 however I will not be drawing them (they unlikely to last long enough for a start) but will def start on the osprey drawings I have been planning since watching a great documentary on Loch Lomond…… excellent use of a Sunday : D enjoy the weekend

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