Sometimes when inspiration has been lost, it might help to go to a favourite art gallery or have another look at an artist to search for something familiar… and give it a twist, which often leads to more new ideas. Even da Vinci was fond of copied cats (as well as ferrets, science and the human body…you should really see his Facebook page) … anyway, here are five suggestions for your next sketchbook drawing session!
Re-do it what’s been done before, but in your own way
- Go to a museum/gallery and draw; it’s such a treat to stand directly before favourite artworks to study and copy one of hundreds of masterpieces found in London: The National Gallery, The British Museum, and the Wallace Collection, to name a few. There’s plenty of stuff to see at The Courtauld Gallery and the Tates, too… and of course, there’s the old stand-by for dozens of beautifully-wrought objects in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Getting out and about with a sketchpad is also a fun way to meet people, who are always curious and love chatting with artists working in public spaces!
- Explore the infinite inspiration of the human body using some new material which is not the life drawing class standard (I’m looking at you, charcoal) such as in this collage using scraps tracing vellum, newsprint, and old packing paper to depict the model:
- Drawing “en plein aire” is always refreshing, like these artists have done: a sketch of Clapham Common by Kelise Franclemont, photos and sketches by Jess Huang, and paintings of London by Oliver Yu Chan and Sarah Fosse:
- Give yourself a little challenge, scavenger hunt-style, such as “draw 5 things that begin with the letter F”. You will find many intriguing and off-the-wall items at The Hunterian Museum, Wellcome Collection, Museum of London, Science Museum, or Natural History Museum, like this “F” item, which traces the endlessly absorbing pattern in a delicate sea fan.
- Experiment with different materials that you normally don’t use; e.g., instead of old-school paper and pencil, practice drawing with a Wacom stylus and tablet or other technology instead. Here are some examples of “paintings” (if they can be called that?) from artists David Hockney, Yibao Gao, and Kelise Franclemont who demonstrate very different results that can be achieved with an iPad and an app such as Brushes or ArtRage:
There’s no end to the creative things one can do with new materials or a different set-up. All that really matters for something exciting to happen is to mix it up a little!
More information and links
- For more creative ideas, read: “22 Ways to create compelling content when you don’t have a clue [infographic]” by Brian Clark, a professional copy editor and graphic designer
- Life drawing classes (along with lots of other topics) are available at:
– City Lit: there are around 30 courses related to drawing and painting from life
– Putney School of Art and Design
– Royal Drawing School (formerly Prince’s Drawing School)
– The Art Academy at London Bridge
– as well as many others!
- Meetup.com informal figure drawing groups
- The ArtFund sponsors the National Art Pass, which gets you into scores of art exhibitions for half price to FREE! So there’s really no excuse…
- Check TimeOut London Art section for upcoming art events and exhibitions