Not to sound cliché, but there is a lot of beauty in the world and it’s often not far from home! Just taking a short walk around where you live can provide some great inspiration for drawing.
See what I drew after I explored my neighborhood and get tips for how to sketch your world!
What do you like to draw?
It’s a simple question, but an important one to ask yourself. Do you like drawing people? Animals? Buildings? Plants? Maybe a combination of all of those things? Determining what you actually want to sketch is key. It’s often overwhelming to have the whole world at your drawing disposal, so narrowing down the field will make it easier.
I really enjoy drawing architecture. Not modern, minimalist structures, but historical buildings and houses. So, it’s no wonder that I love the Mt. Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland — it’s ripe with gorgeous, aged homes. They have old shutters, decorative wrought iron gates, majestic doors and much more.
When I traversed my neighborhood, I knew that I wanted to look for different, interesting architectural features. A colorful church door caught my eye — I’ve admired it for years and have always wanted to draw it. There’s also a small block of houses with cute shutters that I find heartwarmingly quaint. I also can’t get over the lovely shape design in the wrought iron gates that line the bottom floors of buildings.
Unless you want to sketch something on the fly (and maybe you do), then I’d have my camera handy. This will ensure that you’re able to capture a proper reference photo to use later. Having a digital camera is super helpful, and it means that you can photograph everything that interests you, even if it you don’t end up using it right away. I ended up drawing a few things I saw that day, but I have a lot more photos left on my phone. I’m sure I’ll find a reason to refer to them later.
The results: three drawings completed in three ways
I picked out a few photos I liked and loaded them up on my iPad. Then, I thought about each image and decided how I technically wanted to handle it. Some subjects lend themselves better to different types of drawing.
Take the red and blue church door, for instance. I love how vibrant it is and wanted to convey it in my sketch. Using a felt-ink pen, I drew the doorway on watercolor paper and later went over it with watered-down acrylic paints.
I handled the house with the shutters with a soft pencil and on tan drawing paper. I wanted an aged look to convey the history of the structure.
The wrought iron gates, have really strong shapes. I wanted to sketch something that’s flat and graphic, and focuses on the great “O” patterns.
Sketching isn’t about perfection. It’s about having fun, making mistakes, and experimenting with different types of imagery and media. Afterall, you never know how those things will influence other areas of your art making. So, have fun and keep your eyes open!
Become a better artist with your sketchbook! Artist Paul Heaston shares essential sketching techniques in the Bluprint’s Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday class.