The Quick Drawing

The quick drawing is an amazing sketchbook phenomena that has made it possible for me to draw daily and effectively. 

Before I delve into it’s merits I want to firstly explore some of the challenges surrounding the quick drawing. 

I recently attended an art group where people brought their sketchbooks and shared what they were working on. One such sketchbook had a range of very beautiful sketches that had taken the artist over 2 hours each to draw them. After a few weeks the drawings stopped. It was unattainable to keep up this momentum despite the clear talent and skill on show. 

The other curious point that I noted, was the preconceived notion of the “perfect” drawing needing to be a laborious and long drawn out process. Our cultural conditioning within the art and creative contexts has been (and maybe still is?) largely output focused as opposed to the enjoyment of the creative process. 

Unfortunately we seem to be tainted with a perfectionist trait when it comes to drawing often self flagellating ourselves in the quest for perfection and then abandoning it when unattainable. 

What a shame! What if there was a more manageable roadmap to follow? 

I believe that the quick drawing could provide an amazing solution for some of us. 

Don’t be fooled by the word “quick” either.  Quick doesn’t necessarily mean its any less of a standard. You still have to work towards attaining the “quick” drawing format that is based on practice. 

Why would you want to use a quick drawing? 

  1. Firstly, why should a lack of time preclude you from creative daily enjoyment? If you knew you could pick up a sketchbook and draw something, anything, in less than 20 minutes would that change the way you approach your drawing? 
  2. Drawing quickly teaches us to be more spontaneous and seize the opportunity. Aristotle once said that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” There are moments of my day where I think I have a pocket of time. Why not be aware of how to fill it for myself?  If I have time to fit in a drawing I will. Perhaps this quote was more relevant to me as drawing became a meditative as well as well being practice to keep my mind sharp and focused on the positive. Allowing the mind to drift was something I was keen to avoid.
  3. Drawing quickly helps to keep it simple! My quickest drawings are some of my most effective.
  4. Did you know that you can still master all the major drawing principles through the quick sketch, in particular the contour line?
  5. Visual Thinking: the quick drawing format encourages visual thinking, enabling you to explore and express ideas visually. It taps into the power of visual communication, which is often more effective in conveying complex or abstract concepts. By sketching out your thoughts, you engage both hemispheres of the brain, fostering creativity and enhancing problem-solving skills. This process happens almost silently and at speed too!

Drawing quickly can be a useful skill for artists who want to capture the essence of a subject or work on quick sketches. There is however a process to go through to be able to attain drawing quickly. It doesn’t just happen. You still have to follow a set of guidelines and rules in order to master the quick drawing process. 

Your Top 10 Tips to Draw Quickly!

  1. Warm up: Spend a few minutes doing warm-up exercises like quick scribbles, circles, or lines to loosen up your hand and get into a creative mindset.
  2. Use simple shapes: Start with basic shapes to block out the overall form of your subject. It’s easier to draw a rough circle or rectangle than to dive into intricate details right away.
  3. Gesture drawing: Focus on capturing the gesture or the flow of movement in your subject. Use loose, fluid lines to convey the energy and pose. Gesture drawing helps you work quickly and capture the essence of the subject.
  4. Practice contour drawing: Contour drawing involves drawing the outline or contour of an object without looking at your paper. This technique improves hand-eye coordination and helps you draw more confidently and quickly.
  5. Use fewer lines: Aim to simplify your drawings by using fewer lines. Instead of trying to draw every detail, focus on the most prominent features and elements that define your subject.
  6. Avoid erasing too much: Embrace imperfections and avoid spending excessive time erasing and correcting mistakes. Instead, work with the lines you’ve already drawn and build upon them.
  7. Set a time limit: Challenge yourself to complete a drawing within a specific time frame. This constraint encourages you to work efficiently and make quick decisions.
  8. Experiment with different mediums: Try using different drawing tools like pens, markers, or charcoal. Each medium has its own characteristics and may allow for quicker mark-making depending on your style and preference.
  9. Study references beforehand: If you’re drawing from a reference, spend some time studying it before you start drawing. Familiarize yourself with the key shapes, proportions, and details so that you can draw more quickly and accurately.
  10. Practice regularly: Like any skill, drawing quickly requires practice. Dedicate regular time to sketching or doodling, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. The more you practice, the more comfortable and efficient you’ll become.

One of the other traits I have noticed with my quick drawings is how different they might look on the page in comparison to my longer drawings. Don’t be afraid to embrace an entirely different drawing style when you tackle the quick drawing concept. Your drawings may look less refined or polished but still carry a charm to them nevertheless!

Remember, drawing quickly is a skill that develops over time with practice. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process of capturing the essence of your subjects in a quick and expressive manner.

To find out more about Emily’s Notebook head on over to her learning platform for resources and free event downloads. 

Or if you’re up for implementing a 30 day 20 minute drawing planner challenge join Emily in her Scratch to Sketch Membership Hub!