“Don't carpet your rut". The quote reminds me not to get too comfortable by doing the same thing over and over. Any form of repetition can be a rut: technique, subject matter, view point, perspective, lighting, materials... Artists can get in a rut because we want a successful outcome every time. Anything that seems repetitive is playing it safe. If you want to grow it means you have to take a risk. The risk can be large or small. If you find yourself in a rut start climbing out!
I start by thinking, “What if?” How many ways can I sketch a subject but say it differently? The answer is countless times.
I enjoy exploring new ways of expressing myself with watercolor, drawing techniques and tools. Instead of always relying on the same technique I sketch the same subject in different ways. This is a great way to explore new mediums by investing a small amount of time (not a full sheet watercolor). I’ve found many of my favorite ways of sketching and painting when I am playing and exploring, “What if?”
A few examples of ways to explore using one subject. I encourage you to find something to draw/paint. Get out your supplies and see how ways you sketch the subject in a new way. The drawings don't need to be very big (3x5 or 4x6).
TOOLS & TECHNIQUES: pen, pencil, marker, bamboo watercolor, ink, contour, crosshatch, wet into wet, dry brush…
#1 Pencil & watercolor: Drawn with pencil. Painted with watercolor
#2 Ink & Watercolor: Drawn with waterproof pen (Faber-Castell, Pitt). Painted with watercolor.
#4 Pencil & Watercolor: Drawn with pencil. Value study with Payne’s Gray watercolor.
I’ve done at least four more variations and I’ve got more ideas to explore. I've only scratched the surface.
Once you begin you’ll start to see sketching as an opportunity to explore. I'm curious to hear how many sketches you can come up with. I’m sure you can add a few of your favorites to the list!