Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Drawing in Public- The Abstract Way

Hi sketchers!
Carol Sloan here, waving from South Carolina.
I'm hoping that the first week of the new year has been a good one for you.
Keeping busy? Drawing a little every day?


Just think, if you had given yourself the gift of drawing for five minutes the past seven days you'd be that much more comfortable in your ability.
Just try it for a couple of weeks. Be sure to keep your drawings so that you can compare them and really see the improvement that you make.

We have been talking about drawing in public so I thought I'd tell you what I do sometimes to alleviate the fear a little bit.
I often travel by plane when I teach.
I hate to just sit there (although I do like watching people in the airports) so I carry a sketchbook or loose pages to work on.
Occasionally I sketch my surroundings but most of the time I just want to make random, easy marks on the page.
This is what I do to prepare my supplies before heading out on what could also be considered an artist date (since I am enriching my mind with a creative activity).
When I use loose pages, I usually grab several sheets of watercolor paper that has already been folded.
I love to collage a scrap of graph paper onto my drawing surface with matt medium or Soft Gel (depending on how thick the graph paper is). Don't worry about where you place it on the page - just slap it down some where.
Like this -

I often forget to do this but I prefer my pages WITH graph paper on them (or some type of paper that has a grid type pattern on it).
Allow this to dry completely.
I add a dash of color with watercolors or watered down acrylics. You could use any type of supply to add a bit of color though.
One of the goals in adding the color is to allow it to travel its own path. That's why I water down the acrylics. I usually load the brush with the paint/water mix and just swipe it across the edge of the paper.
Or I make random swipes across the page.
Here are a couple of examples of how I apply the color.

Random applications along with drips of paint.

Mostly drips of watered down paint along the edge
of the page. 

These are double spread pages. Sometimes I forget to add the graph paper but I really enjoy using the grids to draw into.
The next page has a light application of either watercolor or acrylic paint on it (lots of water to encourage the drips on the page).

The following is what I did to the above page while flying back and forth to Colorado.
Easy, random marks following the lines of the paint.
Then I added a variety of marks between the paint lines.
And it ended up looking like this.

So - if you want to try drawing in public while you're on an artist date, prep a few pages the way I have shown you. It will be so much easier to draw in this abstract way.
You might be surprised at what shows itself on the page (see fish above).

Here is a page that I did add the graph paper to.
It is much easier to have those little boxes to add marks to as opposed to drawing that box yourself.

An alligator appeared on this page.
Try it and show us your results!


  1. I like this idea. One time I used a berry on a bush - I wanted to see what colour it made! :P smushed it onto my page, then let it dry.
    I found all sorts of interesting creatures in the splodge.
    Sandy in the UK
    I think I might do a bit more of that berry smushing. :)

    1. Sandy - ohhh a berry smushing page sounds yummy for sure! Please do it and post your page on the Flickr page so we can be inspired b y it!

  2. I like this idea as well! I think I'll be trying it.

    1. Great Valerie! It's just as easy as it sounds and yields great results. Show us your page on the Flickr site!

  3. what a great idea...going to try this for sure

    1. Hi Sherry! I'd love to see what your pages look like trying this technique! Post them on the Flickr site when you get to it please.

  4. I thought I was the only one who liked to start on graph paper. I've been looking for some with bigger squares but haven't found any yet.

    Thanks for showing how your page came together.

    1. Thank you Boo! I don't recall seeing any either. Although you could make your own with something like Microsoft Office or Excel...

  5. You're right" how ez it can be... Drawing for. 5 mins everyday.... Will probably turn into ten, then 15, etc. it is so intimating, but adding some paper via collage is a great jumping off point!

    1. Yes, erentz, it's a great jumping off place! Makes it easier to get started actually.

  6. This is so inspired and such fantastic results. I can see it allows for such freedom. I shall be trying this to pass many hospital waiting room hours, so will think of you and be appreciative of your artistry and teaching skills. Sorry I can't post results as I am not on flicker.

    1. Jez, it's so easy to join Flickr! Just go to and register to create a free account. We would love to see your sketches! This type of drawing is fantastic for waiting rooms. I hope that it helps to pass the time there a little easier.


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