I recently had an article published on TGO Online (link at the end of this post) entitled Taking a Sketchbook for a Walk, which I do regularly. Drawing is a lovely way to capture aspects of a day out and searching for a subject helps give a walk a focus. I have sketchbooks and journals going back many years but, despite an art degree (gained as a mature student creating conceptual installations and needing no drawing skills) I have very little formal illustration training and art was not taught at my school – I had to take French instead. But I always wanted to be able to draw.
Drawing and ‘reportage’ sketching are a great way of creating a journal of your walks, but not if you are too critical. If you want to give it a go you need to be able to critique your efforts – decide what has worked well and what you need to improve – without being judgemental. If you tell yourself ‘I’m no good’ then that’s what you will see, but if you think ‘that’s got room for improvement. Now how can I achieve that?’ you will begin to improve. And learn to love your style. Just as we cannot look like other people, we will always draw or paint in our own way. My first efforts were not a pretty sight, but I persisted. I read instructional books, watched videos and signed up for some evening classes. And slowly my drawing, and painting, improved.
In the TGO Online article I’ve created two kit lists: one for day walks, where weight is less of an issue, and one for backpacking trips which need to be super lightweight. But you can draw with anything. Try drawing in the sand with driftwood, or on a stone with charcoal from the fire. Or ballpoint pen on a paper napkin. It’s all good practice. And a simple pencil and paper is a good place to start.