Last Week: Not sketching

March 21, 2016 | 13 Comments


When regular sketchers are in the middle of a busy period they either will madly try to squeeze in a sketch at the slightest opportunity (working quicker or limiting their composition) or they will simply abandon all attempts until things settle down again. I have been generally characterised by the former behaviour (especially when I was working full time in an architectural office) but these days, as sketching is now my work, I am finding myself falling into the latter category. What? am I sometimes choosing just to relax and read rather than madly sketch at all possible times? Yes, this is a radical change in behaviour for me!

Anyway, I really haven’t been sketching in the last week or so… well apart from what’s on the table whenever I am in a cafe!  Its making my sketchbooks full of the one subject matter but it is really nice to start my hustle days with a little moving of pigment around the page. I am still waiting to do a latte sketch that I am really happy with, so the challenge is still keeping me engaged even though the subject matter is the same every day.

I am trying to get back into a regular rhythm after a few weeks of big projects and teaching, so hoping that a little variety will appear in the coming week. This idea of repetition in sketching subject matter seems to be a repetitious subject for discussion in these weekly sketchbook reflections. Check out previous posts here and here.

But, in the meantime, here are my lean pickings from the last week or so.

So, in closing, I would love to hear from you:

When you are busy do you abandon sketching all together? Or do quicker versions of your normal work? Or find a simpler subject matter to tackle?




  • Hey Liz, I love your work (and really loved your class on Sketchbook Skool).
    To you, it may be a real quick sketch – but to me, those look so accomplished!
    I try to sketch/draw/paint every day, but sometimes I find that it’s quantity over quality. And yet, over time, even quick sketches start to look better than what I was able to produce a year ago. Was it Koosje Koene who said “even a wonky drawing is better than no drawing at all”?

    • Liz Steel says:

      THanks Marie-Helene – and yes! I agree with Koosje, and ANY drawing is good. Quantity has a quality of its own…and yes there will always be improvement over time. Mine have certainly improved over the years.
      It is interesting that me biggest concern at the moment is more the variety of subject matter. Ah! There is always some aspect of your work that you focus on.

  • Bonjour Liz,
    I also love what you do and your spontaneity as in your drawings in your words. I feel you so passionate.
    I would like to work more this spontaneity in my drawings sometimes, do you have a “recipe”? ;))

  • Corinne van der Vorst says:

    Hello Liz, since I started to sketch daily I can see a lot of improvement in my sketches. That’s why I try to keep sketching every single day. On busy days I sketch something more simple that I can do at home. I would love to be able to work quicker, especially on busy days. The 5 minutes exercise of the Edges course using a brush pen (lesson 3) Is therefore my favourite at the moment!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Corinne! thanks for your comment and SO pleased to hear that you are sketching daily and are seeing improvement. Great too about the 5 minute exercise in Edges – I use my expressive pen all the time for quick sketches (such as the line drawings of the courtyard in this collection)

  • Kate Powell says:

    Liz is this a wordpress site or another site? It presents differently and as I am considering moving into a WP upgrade I am curious.

  • Cathy Dwyer says:

    Hi Liz. This post made me remember your ‘obsessive sketching” period the year you came to America and specifically NYC. I’ve always hoped to achieve a state of obsessive sketching because the practice would do me so much good! I’m glad you are able to take time off and relax-you are so hard-working and such an inspiration! Thank you!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Cathy!
      Yes – there is no doubt that that trip to NYC was the peak of my obsessive sketching stage! I was so out of control!!!! At the end of that week I said to myself “you know, I can do this non stop obsessive ink and wash sketching thing… now lets try something else – mix it up, develop my watercolour further and slow down.”
      I still go through stages of non-stopism but trying to work out ways of recording the important bits without pushing myself quite as much as I used to… although it wasn’t so much a case of pushing as just being totally obsessed!!!

  • Mary McCarty says:

    I do my best to draw every day and when bustyI pick something simple( such as a pear) do it each day but with a different media. It is fast because it is repetiative design but I still get a chance to play with a wide variety of methods. Take it easy. Mary

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