How ink sketching can improve well-being
Ink sketching is all about letting go of control and perfectionism. It's about trusting yourself to go for it and enjoying the process of deep observation. There's something very satisfying about drawing a contrasting black line along a crisp white page...
One thing I come across time and time again from people wanting to draw is that fear of the imposing clean white page. They might try with a pencil to get the perfect line but then become more and more frustrated as they rub lines out and muddy the page, losing heart in the process.
As we are now part of a world where we are getting more used to relinquishing control, what about just having one chance to draw that line on the page and not getting hung up on the idea of perfection? By this I mean using a black fine liner pen instead of a pencil.
An early doodle in my garden one day
Now that may sound incredibly scary to start with, but I promise you it is also liberating. By ridding yourself of the option of rubbing out if you feel it’s not quite right, it means you have to go with the flow, accept any tiny imperfections (that only you will notice) and create a drawing that probably has way more personality and style.
It’s all about trust, trusting yourself to just go for it and steadying your hand as you do! There’s also something incredibly satisfying about drawing a contrasting black line on a crisp white page.
Floral wreathes are a simple way to practice
This is a technique I’ve been doing for a while now, and this looser style and version of sketching certainly makes your heart beat a little faster as you concentrate hard and you get sucked into the endorphin-flooding,‘flow’ state whilst drawing.
It’s a great exercise to do in these difficult times, to close yourself off from constant mind-chatter or the daily newsreels going on. In essence, it’s like a step up from doodling, with more marks, lines, structure and a more pleasing result.
This one was done from a photograph of a scene on a local walk
Here are my tips to get started:
- Ideally have a few different thickness fine-liners to vary the strength of the lines for different parts of your drawings and a simple sketching pad
- Start small, doodle away and get used to how the pens feel and behave on the paper
- Next try a study of something small, a piece of fruit, bunch of keys, or a small vase of flowers
- Add in some words if typography appeals to you, this can look really effective and they work well as gifts
- As you get more confident, try something bigger, like a fireplace, a bicycle or even your children or pets
- Discover more unusual angles of perspective to make your drawing more interesting
- Challenge yourself further, old buildings, a castle or a village high street are great options to try, with lots of rugged details to capture
- Once you’ve got used to this style, if you like you can add in bits of colour using all kinds of other mediums, just don’t let it overwhelm the detail of the black ink, let this still be the focus.
A sketch from my garden looking at the back door to my house, with some added colour using standard felt-tips
Doing this kind of what I call active mindful activity is so good for the soul right now.
If you are juggling lots of things during the day, perhaps working from home and trying to help the kids with their schoolwork, taking just a 30-minute time out with your sketchbook can make all the difference to your day.
It’s important you take time out for yourself, look after your mental well-being as well as everyone else’s and give yourself the opportunity to take a deep breath and reset.
A quick sketch I did for the #30daysketchbookchallenge that Susan Yeates set up to encourage daily sketching by setting prompts
Simple sketching helps you feel more grounded to your surroundings, it’s a deep observation of the scene you are trying to replicate, noticing the intricate details and textures, the angles and shadows and relaying them to the page.
It’s a little piece of magical escapism you can build into your day and engage the creative side of your brain, leaving you feeling calmer, content and hopefully proud of what you have created.
Happy sketching and do let me know how you get on.
Juliet, The Curious Creative
For anyone interested in building and landscape ink sketching, have a look at John Harrison’s YouTube tutorials, he is the master in this style!
For more ways to bring creativity into your life, check out my website for a whole host inspiring posts, interviews and resources: