Today’s doodlewashes come to us from Larry Marshall, a retired research scientist from Quebec City, Quebec. Although he grew up in Arizona, he’s been living in Canada for the past few decades (Follow him on Instagram and be sure to visit his website for more!)
In his words:
Four years ago I read Danny Gregory’s Everyday Matters and Creative License books. He convinced me that ‘talent’ had little to do with art, not was the product important. He indicated that it was the process of doing art and how this changed ones view of the world that mattered.
So I decided to give it a try. I started drawing cubes. I figured that lots of things fit into cubes so if I could draw one, I might have a chance to draw a lot of things. After drawing just shy of a gazillion of them, I finally felt I could draw cubes in any orientation and so I expanded my horizons.
Those early days were the hardest as I was alone in the venture and with little to share with the world. But I discovered Urban Sketchers and the idea of sketching on the street. I started walking Quebec City, drawing simple things I found along the way. It was like a treasure hunt and I couldn’t get enough of it. In hindsight, Gregory was right on all counts and urban sketching has connected me to a world of fellow sketchers.
I rarely draw at home, except for constant doodling while I watch TV. So my approach requires that I carry all of my supplies. Thus, I generally work in smallish sketchbooks. My preference is for Stillman & Birn Alpha or Beta series sketchbooks. I’ve tried a lot of sketchbooks and S&B quality is hard to beat. Sometimes, though, I’ll draw on single sheets and there I generally use Fabriano or Canson watercolor paper.
Artists do love their toys and I’m no exception. I have more pointy devices that make marks than any human needs. I generally use one of my many fountain pens as my principle drawing tool. My favorite is a Namiki Falcon that I feed with De Atramentis Document Black ink. I do occasionally use a mechanical pencil for blocking out a sketch but the actual drawing is always done in pen.
I use Daniel Smith watercolors outdoors and Faber-Castell Albrecht-Durer watercolor pencils during winter museum sessions. I’m not much of a watercolorist, however, as I’m very line-obsessed and when the lines are done, I feel that I’m done. It’s something I’m working on right now.
At this point I’ll draw anything, though like most artists, all I can ever see are my faults. My favorite subjects are architectural but I do draw planes, trains and automobiles. In museums I draw whatever is before me as museums, with the myriad of shapes they present, are where I learn the most, even if the subjects are not what I prefer. I have a soft spot for the mundane, particularly fire hydrants, garbage cans, and lampposts. Anyone can make the Taj Mahal look good, right?
I do a lot of quick-sketching of people, in coffee shops, on the street, in the doctor’s office – anywhere, but I have to confess that drawing people is my least favorite thing to do. Given what I see of other artists, I must have missed the line for that gene when they were handing them out.
I’ve been told that telling an artist they’re “so talented” isn’t the compliment it’s meant to be. I never understood it until it happened to me and I confess to having cringed a bit the first time I heard it. After four years, I have 46 sketchbooks full of drawings that mark the slow plodding steps that moved me from not being able to draw cubes to being able to draw the way I do now. Maybe, by the time I do another 100 sketchbooks, I’ll will be on the verge figuring out “art.” Clearly, the only “talent” I have is persistence.