Monday, June 7, 2010

Ardea herodias

Ardea herodias
Pen and ink
8 May 2010


Read the post that goes with this drawing.

I've officially integrated my blog activity —including drawings—to suzannemcdermott.com. Please come visit.

If you'd like to learn a bit about American drawing, read my posts at Drawing America.

Thanks for coming by!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Birds and Bunnies


Since completing my new eBooks, I've been in training and out in the field on assignment. All my drawing time has been confined to teaching, Stormy Sunday and to the margins of manuals, insides of folders and loose scraps. I mentioned somewhere that I've been considering birds as subjects.

and somewhere else I mentioned that I've been working up cartoons.

This is how they might start, on a random sheet.














after initial sketches in margins.


Here's the margin sketch for the bunny at top of post.


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Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I Teach Drawing

This post was originally published at the Drawing America blog, then at my main blog. I think it belongs here, too.

It started as an idea in early 1997 as I stood by the Monterey Bay Aquarium looking over the Pacific and up through the pines. I'd been touring as a performing songwriter, making small drawings and watercolors of scenes across Europe and the US on my days off.

Some incident at the Aquarium had made me wonder about my observational skills. Why did I notice things that other people missed? Maybe after a lifetime spent looking at things in order to draw them, I'd trained myself to see better. If people learned to spend time drawing, I thought, perhaps they would become more observant.

As soon as I returned to Charleston, South Carolina, where I was living at the time, I designed two introductory classes (one in drawing, the other in watercolor) for guests at the Kiawah Island Resort. I've been teaching basic drawing and watercolor throughout the US at the community level ever since.

What I did not know when I first started teaching is that many people can draw pretty well on their own. I discovered in short order that everyone has their own inherent style without any instruction. That was a thrill! I also learned that drawing is not taught. It's a practice.

Sure, I instruct students on tools, some technique, visual language, point out problems in execution and offer solutions. But mostly, I help people learn how to see what they are looking at. I also point out individual stylistic choices and encourage people to recognize and develop their own natural mark making. (Why would you want to draw like anyone else?)

What I definitely did not expect was to find myself in the role of a psychological coach. Not all, but many, many adults are afraid to draw. I mean, desperately afraid of what might happen if they commit a pencil mark to paper, or make a bad drawing, or a not so great drawing. Sometimes they'll say out loud, "I can't!" When they do make a drawing, they often disparage it and themselves in no uncertain terms.

Part of my job as a teacher is to coax these students away from their self-criticism and inhibitions.

I have been known to be hard on myself and easily frustrated so am well acquainted with that part of the creative process. Still, it's a shame that the simple act of drawing produces such deep tremors in adult psyches.

On the other hand, drawing is a great, safe way to work out your neuroses, to learn how to see better, to love yourself and become a more fully realized human being. It's a joy to help people learn to accept themselves and to become more aware of their surroundings.

Teaching is a great way to learn. So is drawing. That's why I teach drawing.

Excerpt from Basic Drawing Lessons.
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Friday, April 23, 2010


Library at Woburn, Mass.

Just because a book is finished does not mean that work is finished on a book!

This pen and ink was made from an early photo of the Library at Woburn, Massachusetts. I found it in a 1902 edition of the Text-Book of the History of Architecture. Of 423 pages, only 17 on architecture in the United States.

I think I performed at this library while I was touring with my program on the history of the Christmas Carol — Out Under the Sky.

This drawing illustrates one of the pages in my new eBook How To Throw A Big Draw in Your Neighborhood. That eBook is being offered with a bonus of my other new eBook Basic Drawing Lessons.

With all this work on getting other people to draw, I thought it was about time to post a drawing of my own up here. As many of you know, you can see other drawings of mine at Studies and Sketches.

I'm readjusting to a new web presence — and it's taking some tweaking (and considerable time) — but it'll all come out in the wash, as they say!

Back to work on the eBooks which is now getting them out into the world.

You can help by telling your friends and family!

How To Throw A Big Draw in Your Neighborhood
Basic Drawing Lessons

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lumber


Lumbering into new territory.

I am working on a new web presence. Might take a while.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sketch after John LaFarge



It's tax day at my house. Here's a one minute demo sketch from yesterday morning's watercolor class. After John LaFarge's Wild Roses in a Chines Vase.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Doodle Birds


Two quick doodles on the handout of a class I attended last night. I like these quick expressions with such few strokes. Hardly any fuss at all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Morning Snooze



The easiest subject at hand. Tallulah during her after breakfast snooze!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canada Dry



Another classic. I can see where I'm going with this and will have to switch to more appropriate paper in my next small sketchbook if I expect to use water. Buckles galore!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Wayfarer



I've been wearing Ray-Bans since my early 20's. At first I wore the Baloramas but switched to the Wayfarer which was improved when Bausch & Lomb came out with a modified version more suited to a female head, the New Wayfarer.

Bausch & Lomb stood behind their products 100% for years. Alas, with merger and acquisition fever, the service flagged and now the materials have changed, too. Still, there's nothing like the G-15 glass lens for neutral sun shade. And I'm happy that what I've loved all these years is still available!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Commitment



By which I mean, back to the big screen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Leaf 2



The robins have returned! I counted five on the back yard a couple of days ago. Soon, new leaves will appear. This is a sketch from one of last year's crop.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Piece of Vine



Worked up a quick sketch from some previous class during the afternoon drawing class session.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

During



Really, I should re-title this blog drawing on the fly for the time being. Made this sketch while students underwent torture of beginning watercolor exercises.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unlatched



A personal thank you to Gahan Wilson for giving me supreme confidence when my lines wave funny. One eye was on the guitar case, the other on Tiger Woods delivering his remarks to the public. Caught the latter by utter chance and am glad I did!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Found Drawing 2



I beefed this other found drawing up with pen and as I did recognized when I made this and what for. It was August 2006 and a preliminary study for a painting of a whitewater rafter I made for a friend. Once I was into the beef up, I added the outline of the raft and some splashes.

No wonder I didn't recognize that other scribble. That's been quite a while and was the very first thing I made in this studio!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Found Drawing



In the process of cleaning up the studio, I made a pile of demo drawings and in them were two drawings that I can't remember making. Or can't remember what I was trying to make. This drawing could be of a number of things but reminds me of drawings I made as a child. I beefed up the light lines this morning and spent way too long (or not long enough) trying to fix the paper shadows from the scanner.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Independent Bag



A good, quick exercise found in the corner pile of my yet to be cleaned up studio. Support your local independent bookseller. Browse in real life and buy a book through a local cash register!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Two Tulips



Could not help coloring them in!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Broken Switch



All three of the lights in my studio supply room went out last week. I really didn't want to fool with electric wires on my own or pay to have an electrician fix a little matter. One of my drawing students helped me take the switch apart after morning class yesterday to see what the problem was. I ran to Home Depot between classes, bought a new switch, installed it and ate lunch before the afternoon class. This was the first time I've ever replaced an electric switch in my life. I am so damned proud of myself!

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