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A Drawing is a Record of Your Lived Experience.

A Drawing is a Record of Your Lived Experience.

When I’m out drawing, I try to remember to resist the temptation to spend an hour looking for the perfect view. Anything can make an interesting drawing. If you’re in Paris, you don’t have to draw the Eiffel Tower. I was trapped under an awning during a rainstorm recently and drew a picture of the car parked across the street. It’s a funny, awkward little picture, but it ended up being my favorite drawing of the day. I want my...

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Hate the Idea of Outlines? Try a Thumbnail Sketch Instead.

  Most artists begin with some version of a thumbnail sketch. It might look like this one: a tiny, rough drawing, made with the purpose of working out where the big shapes go. Generally there’s some attempt at indicating value (light and dark) as well. You might do four of these before you settle on a composition that works. When I do an oil painting, I’m generally working from a photograph, so I’ve already messed around...

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Are You Haunted by a Restless Sense that There’s Something Better Out There? Congratulations, You’re an Artist

Are You Haunted by a Restless Sense that There’s Something Better Out There? Congratulations, You’re an Artist

  I can’t stop thinking about what I read in the last three pages of Peter Steinhart’s memoir The Undressed Art. If these lines speak to you…congratulations. You’re an artist. This was the first passage that stopped me in my tracks: “What does one feel that leads one to light out? A restlessness? A sense that one does not fit in? A desire for revision? A sense that somewhere else life could be better? All these seem to me to be...

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Stop Showing Your Art to Your Boyfriend.

Stop Showing Your Art to Your Boyfriend.

I was sitting in a park recently, drawing the trees, when a woman asked if she could sit down next to me and watch me draw. “Sure,” I said. “Are you an artist?” “I wanted to be,” she said. “I started to draw, but then I showed my drawings to my boyfriend and he said they were no good, so I quit.” “Stop showing your work to your boyfriend,” I said. She laughed. “Yeah, I guess I could do that.” ** Just last week I was on...

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“How Do I Start My Book?” I Have an Answer to That Question.

“How Do I Start My Book?” I Have an Answer to That Question.

“I have an idea for a book, but I don’t know where to start.” People ask writers for advice on starting a book all the time. I’m sure a lot of writers get tired of trying to answer that question. There you are, behind a table at a booksigning, at the end of a long evening, trying to summarize the incredibly messy and frustrating process of making 300 pages come together as a coherent whole while a dozen other people wait...

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My Art Supplies

If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve noticed that I’ve been posting a lot of sketches lately. Sketching is a delightful pastime that also happens to be highly portable, especially if you have a small and simple set of art supplies that can go with you everywhere. I get a lot of questions about what art supplies I use, so here’s the answer.  I’m including links to purchase online, but only because you can see a...

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The Amazing, Astonishing Google Check: How I Used Google to Spell-Check Every Word in My Book.

The Amazing, Astonishing Google Check: How I Used Google to Spell-Check Every Word in My Book.

Anyone who uses technical terms, scientific terms, foreign words, proper nouns, or brand names in their writing knows the limitations of the spell-checker built into a word processing program.  After all, it’s just a static list of words that got loaded onto your computer and never gets updated or expanded unless you do it yourself.  (And if you’ve ever tried one of the professional spell check add-ons, like Spellex, you may have...

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