Slow Down & Value Exercises

Lines-1After Jan has posted a link to a “slow down” exercise, I wanted to give it a try.

I decided to use my charcoals, the ones I have almost never used although I had them already for several years.
I drew the vertical lines trying to keep it slow and be mindful of what I am doing because naturally I wanted to speed up.

When I filled the page with vertical lines I thought to go on with horizontal ones. I liked to draw lines with the charcoal block, it gives a very pleasing effect.

Because I also decided to do 3 value exercises, recommended on the same blog, I thought to combine it with my lines. See the photo above.

I must say that keeping slow was not always easy and I had to remind myself: “Slow down, slow down”, which helps for some short time. Then when I notice that I am speeding up, I say my “slow down” again.

My conclusion:
– Keeping slow is not natural for me but possible to train I guess. After I have finished the exercise I went on to study Ears. And here I had to remind myself to slow down again and again.
– When I pay attention and slow down, I get nicer lines and cleaner shading results.
– I enjoy the slow drawing process.

Now I will do these exercises for one week and see what I gain from them.


How a sketch didn’t become a drawing


pencil on newsprint paper

I got inspiration for this sketch while looking through my recent photos. When I saw a photo of my goose I thought “What if?”

What if I sketch it? How will it look?

I just wanted to do a quick sketch – and ended up refining and refining it…till it almost became a drawing.

And then I regretted that I didn’t use an archival paper for this work.

On the other hand if I chose to work on a piece of good more expensive paper I probably wouldn’t get so satisfying experience and ended up spoiling it.

There is something amazing about using cheap art materials versus expensive ones.  I often get much better results working on a piece of newsprint than on a piece of good drawing paper.

It seems that because I don’t care about the outcome I am more relaxed and that opens some special abilities in me 🙂 I also enjoy the process much more.

I really would like to find the way to relax and open this “special ability” when working with more expensive materials. If you know how to do it, leave a comment below.


Here I will list the answers from the comments below:

  • Jan Langford: “The more you practice, the more you can gradually step up the quality of your materials to a marketable grade.”



How I started to draw and paint again… after a 2-year break

charcoal on newsprint

charcoal from my wood-stove on newsprint paper, self-sketch

Yes, it took me almost 2 years to start drawing and hopefully soon painting again. There are 2 major reasons why I stopped for so long.

One – was my concern about toxicity in art materials.
Another – I didn’t have a place to work.

When the toxicity question was solved and I found out that there are nature-friendly alternatives to create my art, I still couldn’t start doing anything – I simply had no place where I could work.

Here in Portugal we have no real house and live in a small caravan.


The Change

Three months ago my two friends and I decided to organize regular painting-together days. It went well and now 3 months later we have an art group of eight friends!

We meet 2 times a week. One – for realistic drawing sessions, another – for art journaling. Read more about our group on blog.

When we started our group I have promised to my friends that I would give some drawing instructions once a week. This little teaching practice changed everything for me!

Not only I have to bring up long forgotten theoretical knowledge before each meeting but also to practice a lot in order to demonstrate my explanations on practice.The more I practice the more I enjoy the process…

For practicing at home I’ve created a little place in our caravan where I can work regularly. I didn’t get into painting yet, but I am sure that will come too. Now I am happy to be back into regular sketching/drawing, and for that I am fully obliged  to my friends who are eager to learn from me.


It is easier to keep a promise I gave to others
than the one I gave to myself!