“Cormorants” and Other Challenging Pencil Drawings


Way back in January, 2011, I went on a whale-watching trip off the coast of Southern California with a friend–a Basque neurology resident–from Spain.  I had been drawing for only a few months, working through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and wanted to challenge myself with something tricky, so I drew my hand drawing cormorants (I used a photo from the trip as a reference; the drawing was done with graphite on low-quality paper).  It was exciting to do something with a different visual perspective!

Since then, I’ve challenged myself in numerous other ways, all with the goal of gaining skill as rapidly as possible.

In November, 2011, I sketched this shell directly in five minutes…


I wasn’t happy with it, because it wasn’t sufficient practice, so I drew the shell again, this time by drawing the negative space around it.  It took about thirty minutes and was drawn from a slightly different sighting angle than in the below photograph:



My right hand drew itself drawing itself:


That wasn’t easy.  Sketched it while flying back from a fellowship interview in September, 2012.  (It’s hard to draw on a plane because of the jitter and the shakes!)  The plane trip took a while, so I also drew this:


Just as with any other skill, drawing requires deliberate practice for improvement.  Think of such challenges as “interval training” for your drawing ability.  (Interval training is one of the things runners do to gain speed and fitness.)


4 thoughts on ““Cormorants” and Other Challenging Pencil Drawings

  1. I must come back here to say thank you. I have used your idea of drawing your own hand drawing to make a tribute to those ten artists and satrists murdered yesterday. Your idea was uppermost in my mind. I will go back and credit you (forgive me, but until you replied I could not remember whose blog had given me the idea).

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