It has been hectic here lately. I notice I’ve been getting grumpy.
It’s not because I’m busy. I love being busy.
It’s because I miss the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (and the Pentel Colorbrush Pen cousins).
All my projects involve other media right now. They leave little time in the day for my tired eyes to do more sketching for “fun.” (Sketching with the PPPB is pure fun for me—even when things don’t work!)
When this grumpiness happens I think you need to listen to yourself. If you can’t get out and see some people to sketch, if the studio still-life friends (my dinosaurs) are all staring at you with attitude because you’re neglecting them, you’ve still got to find something or someone to draw.
It doesn’t have to be major drawing project, in fact it helps if your subject choice is quick and easy to sketch. You want something you can reach for, set up, and sketch, just so you can reconnect with a medium and paper again. Maybe it’s like long ago when you knew you were going to have to give up the blankie but you just had to touch the soft satin binding one more time. The PPBP is my modern day blankie. If I can use it once a day I’m OK, miss days at a time and I’m grumpier and grumpier.
So I do the sensible thing and I grab some produce, put it out on the table, stand nearby with my journal and PPBP (or one of its cousins) and sketch. I work quickly without planning or thought for page design. I just want to get that pen to move across the paper and feel that gentle drag, the smooth flow.
Sometimes I use the Pentel brush pen with dye-based ink so that I can wet the ink and draw out shadows as I did in the sketch of Bosc pears in today’s post. Sometimes I use get out the Montana Markers as well and fill in the backgrounds. The quick strokes over the background, filling the page with color, give me a great satisfaction.
And then I know that I can go back to work—to fuss with a pencil and a size 8 brush. I just need a little break, a little reconnection with something familiar and comfortable and fun, no work at all.
If you find yourself getting grumpy do a little self check. Think about what your favorite medium is and get it out and use it in a quick session. Let go of any notions of completing a great drawing, even a good drawing. If you’re a perfectionist, this is a great time to practice setting perfectionism aside in favor of productivity and joy.
If oils are your comfort level, that’s going to be more difficult so you’ll have to decide on your “quick” medium. I have friends who resort to thumbnails sketches—20 of them in a couple minutes, of some hastily tossed up still life, or found still life in their studio, Then they are good to go, for whatever the rest of their day holds.
When you find your comfort medium spend only 10 minutes reconnecting. Did your mood improve? If so do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
If your mood didn’t improve are you sure this is your comfort medium? If there’s something else you use try that tomorrow. If you’re still grumpy, well then it’s time to do a full self-evaluation and maybe even check with your doctor.
The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen can’t solve everything.