Gesture drawings Day 1

Daily Art 10-02-17 gesture studies of animals
My first day of animal gesture studies.

One of the biggest benefits of getting out of town and spending a weekend camping in the woods is to have the mental time and space to reflect on goals. As a goal-oriented person this is huge! The day-to-day can take up so much energy that I really value time away to see things in new ways.

This weekend I was explaining to Matt that I feel unsure what’s next for my art education. I could take a class, either online or in person, or read more instructional books, and all of that would be great. But I couldn’t figure out what subject it would be in. Watercolors? Acrylics? Colored pencils? Painting in general? After pointing out that it really doesn’t matter (I’ll do them all anyway), he suggested that simply continuing to focus on drawing is an obvious choice.

He told me a story of an artist friend of his parents who, while at a big group dinner, was quietly and subtly working on a drawing. When he asked about it, the artist explained since he didn’t have a camera he drew everyone around the table. And it was awesome. Now for me, at this point, that would be huge undertaking. To just casually draw a bunch of people sitting around a table? Psh! I’m at the stage where it takes a lot of concentration, quiet, and time to accomplish something like that.

So he was totally right. Drawing is at the heart of everything else I want to create, and if I spend time every day just doing that I’ll move toward my goals. With this idea of being an illustrator kicking around in my head, some kind of figure drawing makes sense. I’m considering an online figure drawing course but to start I’m setting an intention for focused practice, which I read about on

Using focused practice to improve my animal figure drawing

My goal: To capture the form of animals quickly and accurately.

This involves:

  1. drawing the gesture
  2. getting proportions and angles accurate
  3. basic blocking of light and shadow

Time commitment: For 30 minutes a day, I’ll spend 5 minutes on each drawing, and at 6 drawings a day I should reach the goal of 100 studies in 17 days.

Today I started this challenge, using a series of gesture basics posts from as a roadmap. The best part is that this website also provides an automatically-timed slideshow of animal photos! It made the exercise so easy to begin. And the first photo it showed me was an adorable Chihuahua that looked like it was dancing on its hind legs :) What a delightful way to start!

At first, 5 minutes sounded kind of long for such basic sketches. But I found the amount of time to be perfect, at least for starting out. It was long enough that I didn’t feel rushed or panicked, but it was short enough that I didn’t fuss over them.

I’m only at the beginning of this challenge, but I already can see these have more life and movement that what I typically draw. I’m really excited to see where it leads!

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