View Full Version : Chicken Scratch: Journal of a Novice

12-01-2012, 12:36 AM
When I bought a Canson Sketch book (9" x 12" 65lb) I never actually expected to use it for much. Now that it's about 20 pages in, most of which are I would prefer to shread, I figure why not start putting stuff up here.

I'm a beginner at drawing and painting. After reading a lot of posts the recommend the "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" book I picked it up and so far my drawing has improved quite a bit.

Most of my pages will be exercises from the book, but today's is not. I have some very ripe bananas that I could smell while trying to get into the zone and so I decided to try to draw them. I had some trouble trying to draw the letters on the sticker, so I grabbed something that looked like it might work ok with trying to draw negative space and has letters. So I added some tape. I tried to draw the shapes around the letters, but they still did not come out so well.

I felt a little adventurous so I decided to color the tape too!


12-01-2012, 02:15 AM
Welcome to the forum! Good start on the sketchbook. Hope to see more!

12-01-2012, 02:37 AM
Good for you! A lot of us started with that book. The most important thing I ever did was to begin drawing every day, well one of the most important things, the other was to give myself permission to just do it and not judge the outcome. Progress comes with the doing, everyday, and you are well on your way.

12-01-2012, 02:37 AM
Great to see you starting to post your sketches. I worked through "Drawing on the right side of the brain" many years ago and found it invaluable. Glad to see you venturing out on your own now. Well done. I look forward to seeing more.

12-01-2012, 10:15 AM
welcome to the forum!! Just like you, I decided to teach myself to draw a few years back. . . it happened that the book I got was Drawing for Dummies and like you I worked through exercises. I still have my first sketchbook, it was a strathmore one in size 9 x 12.

I look forward to following your process! Its fun and exciting, right?
again, welcome!

12-01-2012, 08:29 PM
Welcome. That's a wonderful book to get started with drawing. You're doing very well. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

12-01-2012, 11:15 PM
Welcome! I love the pic of bananas and tape! You are off to a great start. As everyone else said, just draw and enjoy, no worries! Another FUN to read book of both beginner advice and encouragement in art for anyone, read Danny Gregory's book "The Creative License." It is a hoot, and FULL of interesting ideas and humor aand tons of sketchbook examples. I wore out my local library's copy so I am going to buy my own. Great for artist-block ideas too.

12-01-2012, 11:31 PM
You're off to a wonderful start!

Your observational skills are very good, as you got so much detail in on the tape and the spots and curves of the bananas. (Your label is lovely. ;) )

But perhaps just a bit more work on shading...your bananas don't look finished yet. See how they look all on the same plane? Shading the ones behind the front ones will make them look more separated...

Don't shred your early drawings, lol! Someday you will treasure them and marvel at how much you've learned. And maybe inspire a budding artist by sharing them!


12-02-2012, 01:29 AM
Thanks for the encouragement everyone! It is definitely fun and exciting, except when the sharpener eats half my pencil.

Dragoon, something didn't quite seem right about the bananas. I think that would probably work out. I got tired of looking at spots though. I haven't gotten to any parts of the book about values yet. Though I'm looking forward to it. I may revisit a banana exercise when I get to it. I might do banana bread as a homage to that sketch since that's the next life-stage of these particular bananas.

I don't expect this to be a daily journal, but I'm in a pretty good groove right now. This is a perspective drawing of my kitchen. The exercise was to not use a ruler, but to hold out the pencil to see relative angles.

I'm not too happy with the cabinet to the left of the stove, but I ran out of time on this.

The thing to the right of the pampers and in front of the window cleaner is supposed to be a grocery sack. I started getting a bit frustrated with it and moved on. I spent about an hour and a half on this, and feel like I got a lot out of the exercise.


12-02-2012, 06:16 AM
you've made a great start :)

My tip would be - Don't be tempted to throw away stuff you aren't happy with as you won't have anything to judge your progress against.

My right brain is ok - it's the left brain and organisation that I find more difficult! I think my left brain is atrophied!

12-02-2012, 04:52 PM
The perspective drawing is great.

12-02-2012, 05:14 PM
Excellent job on the perspective drawing of your kitchen. Nice clean lines too. I really like the objects on the shelf, including the grocery sack. Keep at it. :)

12-03-2012, 12:43 AM
As another beginner, I think you are off to a fine start. I think the key is to draw everyday, or at least frequently.
Please keep sharing.

12-03-2012, 05:05 AM
The kitchen sketch is well done. And I definitely agree about not throwing out your early drawings, it's always nice to have them for comparison.

12-03-2012, 02:28 PM
View every sketch or drawing as a learning exercise, regardless of the outcome. No matter what level an artist is at, some of the pieces they produce will be 'clunkers' by their standards - it's an open-ended learning curve. Your perspective piece is fine. Keep at it!

12-03-2012, 08:15 PM
These are great, it looks like you are off to an excellent start! Love the drawings of everyday stuff around the house. :)

Joan T
12-04-2012, 11:52 AM
Welcome!!! Congrats on starting your journal. You did really well on the perspective for the counter and cabinets. Nice sketch of the nanas and tape too.

12-04-2012, 02:05 PM
Welcome to the forum. Great start to your sketching life! I notice the confidence with which you made the kitchen sketch.

It seems that drawing daily helps, and drawing just regular everyday things around you, is so so helpful. Keep some of the early sketches so you can see just how much you have progressed.

12-09-2012, 02:12 AM
Thank you for all of the comments. I will definitely keep the older stuff. I can already see a lot of progress from the very first page I did. I might post it next to the last page when I run out of pages.

I'm currently practicing profile heads as the book has prescribed. The only "models" I have around the house are unwilling. My wife won't let me share her portrait. My kid can't sit still. My brother was willing, but unfortunately can only sit still a little longer than my 2 year old kid.

This is what I managed of my brother. I tried to get some shading in there, but other than that not coming out quite right I'm fairly happy with it. Especially considering how fidgety he was.


12-09-2012, 11:55 AM
You did very well with this :)

12-13-2012, 06:09 PM
Splendid that you continue to challenge yourself with the profile. For more models, try a coffee shop or internet cafe. People sit still for long periods of time in those places.

12-14-2012, 12:03 AM
Nice work. I'm not up to portraits yet, but libraries are also a good place to sketch people.