Me, Myself & Art
If you enjoy my art this is the place to learn about my process and where I find my inspiration. I look forward to sharing my art journey with you!
Me, Myself & Art
by Courtney Hatcher
The Importance of Sketching Everyday Part 2
Artist's Block is an obstacle that every artist faces at one point or another.
It doesn't matter what kind of art you make (painting, drawing, music, choreography, sculpture, poetry, etc). All artists deal with it. It is a problem.
It doesn't matter what phase of your career you are in or the frequency with which you create art. Artist's Block is something that we all deal with. It happens and it sucks but there are things we can do to help alleviate and lessen the occurrence of Artist's Block.
One of the most important tools an artist has at their disposal during bouts of Artist's Block is their sketchbook.
When you are feeling blocked taking a little time to sketch or doodle can be the most effective way to get back on track.
Artist's Block doesn't just happen when you are coming up with ideas, it can happen at any point throughout the creative process. There are three points during my process that I notice I am plagued with Artist's Block more so than any other times. Right smack in the middle of a project, during my conceptualization process, and before I've even decided to start the new project.
Sketching is one of the best techniques I've encountered to fight Artist's Block whenever it may strike.
Simple as that.
Whether the composition is off or I'm not feeling the theme come through in the colors or textures. Something just isn't clicking. I know if I keep working on it when I'm in this blocked mindset that I'll just make it worse. And there's nothing I hate more than wasting paint by creating layers that I know I'm just going to hide later.
Unfortunately, living in Michigan that is not always an option.
When the weather is nice here it is breathtaking! On the flip side the weather in Michigan spends a lot of time being super cold, rainy and gloomy. When it's 40° and raining a walk isn't the best option. I've had pneumonia enough times to know better!
At times like these (December through April!), when I can't go for a walk, the best way to find some new inspiration and to work through my Artist's Block is to sketch.
Sitting down somewhere quiet with my sketchbook and pencils always works. It doesn't matter what I draw, or how long I spend doing it. It always clears my head.
Walking and sketching do the same thing for me. They clear my head, pushing all the millions of little things I have to do out of the way and let me live in the moment.
With my art I express the depth of an individual's emotional journey while also reflecting a greater universal connection. The micro sensation I am exploring can make demonstrating the larger connection more difficult.
Sometimes, when I get too tangled up in my theme, or I can't decide the best way to marry it to a composition or colors, I get completely stuck.
When this happens I have to go back to, or reconnect with, my initial inspiration, which is usually something simple. For instance, the texture of bark on a particularly old tree I saw while on a walk in the park, the movement of a reflection beneath the surface of recently disturbed water, or even the person who cut me off in traffic experiencing instant karma by being immediately stopped at a red light. These sorts of simple, often mundane, experiences almost always act as the starting point of my thought process.
From there I begin to analyze what it is about that simple experience or observation that reflects a heightened abstract emotion or sensation and how it relates to whatever I may be going through at the time.
Other times it might take working through multiple pages in my sketchbook before I'm pleased with my thought process.
Either way, utilizing sketching when I'm blocked always helps me work out my concept if I find myself experiencing Artist's Block.
Blocked Before I Begin
The last, and most frustrating, point in my process where I experience Artist's Block is before I even decide to begin a new project.
Sometimes I feel blocked before I have a new concept in mind.
As an artist there should be nothing more enjoyable than getting my supplies out and making art.
The ugly truth is, sometimes it feels hard to do that much.
There are times in my life, usually when I'm exhausted on some level or overwhelmed by stress, that making art seems like the hardest thing in the world. Even though it's the one thing that would probably help alleviate the stress and exhaustion the most.
When this happens to me I start to feel extremely guilty and ashamed of myself. I'm an artist. What's wrong with me that I don't feel like making art? Shouldn't it be easy and fun all the time?
The answer is no.
It's not always easy. Sometimes showing up and being creative is hard. In life we always want things to be simple and pleasant. The reality is that some of the most rewarding things in life are difficult and take hard work to achieve. Art is no different.
When I can't find the energy or the inspiration to drag myself into the studio to start a painting I know I can grab my sketchbook, sit in a comfy chair, and draw for a little while. The more I convince myself to sketch the more I let go of all the mental blocks that are holding me back from my bigger projects.
Sometimes beginning is the hardest part.
Maintaining a habit of sketching will help jump-start you and lead you into the bigger projects.
Just a Little Sketching Everyday...
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The Importance of Sketching Everyday
by Courtney Hatcher
Inspiration is Everywhere
As an artist it is important to create new art, to experiment and grow.
Unfortunately, life often gets in the way of studio time. It is not always possible to create a masterpiece everyday. That is why sketching is so important in the routine of an artist.
The amount of time you can spend sketching everyday is not as important as the act itself. Sketch for an hour or two if you get lost in the moment, but even five minutes of drawing will have a huge impact on your art, your career and your day to day life.
Maybe you can't take the time in the morning or the evening to sit down and just sketch, that's ok. Keep a little sketchbook or notebook in your car or purse and you can sketch on the go! (I don't recommend sketching while driving but if you have one in your car it will be available to you during your downtime.) If you take public transportation to work you can sketch on the way, during your lunch break, while the kids are napping, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor, etc,.
Some of my best doodles can be found in the margins of my Algebra 101 notebook.
Inspiration is everywhere after all.
The activities we choose to give our time to become our habits. What we train our minds and bodies to do impacts every aspect of our lives, positively or negatively.
Everyone wants to live a fulfilling, happy, life. The most effective way to do that, in my experience, is by changing your mindset. Creating habits that affect my life positively is the simplest way I've found to change my mindset for the better.
For me, sketching has become one of those happy habits.
I've found that when I take the time to enjoy my creativity and do this one little thing that's just for me I'm a happier version of myself. As an artist, it's one small action I can take to move forward in a more positive, creative fashion.
I sometimes use sketching as a form of meditation. I sit in a quiet space and let myself focus solely on the paper in front of me.
Taking the time to quietly sketch allows my mind and body to let go of all the things that are stressing me out. I can put my responsibilities, anxieties and dramas on the back burner and just relax into my sketchbook.
In this busy world where a million different things are competing for our attention 24/7 it's important to step back and give some of that attention to ourselves. Sketching is a good way to check in with yourself, it can be a form of self-care.
If I've had a particularly stressful day I find that sketching in the evening helps me clear my mind and calm down before I go to sleep. Nothing is worse than tossing and turning all night because I'm worrying and unable to let go of the day. For me, sketching alleviates those feelings and helps me get better rest.
I challenge you to make sketching a part of your daily routine. Try it for a week and see how it can change your day! Let me know how it works for you. Remember, you don't have to complete a sketch or a drawing everyday. You can, but it's not necessary to benefit from the exercise. You may end up working on the same one all week, ten minutes one day, thirty minutes the next. The important thing is to do a little bit everyday!
Courtney Hatcher is an abstract artist from Flint, Michigan.
Anatomy Of A Painting
Tips & Techniques