One of my goals for 2022 is to get better at drawing. The best way to get better? Practice, practice and more practice. The best way to make time to practice? Make it FUN! Here are three ways I’m upping my drawing game.

#1: Cool Gear

Nothing motivates me like having cool gear to play with — who’s with me? :)

I had a bunch of pens just sitting in a drawer but never used them. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Enter the A5 Art Toolkit:

Limited edition green A5 Art Toolkit

I loaded up my A5 Art Toolkit with all my long handed pens, pencils and water brushes and not one but TWO sketchbooks. Here’s a bit about the gear:

  • Midori notebook (I have both the A5 and the MD, shown with the cover) with a sticker from Do Your Thing Coffee
  • Kuretake water brushes
  • Blackwing pencil
  • Koh-I-Noor Magic pencil (it changes color as you write — magic!)
  • Posca white paint pen
  • Pentel brush pen
  • and last but not least, the Sailor Fude De Mannen 55 degree pen. I heard so much about this pen from artists I admire, including Suhita and Liz, that I just had to try one. It can create thick or thin lines depending on how you hold it and is so much fun to use — and so unpredictable.

#2: Make it Fast

I decided to take the pressure off my drawing practice by doing fast sketches. Maybe someday I’ll sit and draw for an hour, but right now that time is saved for painting.

The first sketches in my book were along I-10 on our way out to Big Bend National Park — note that I was NOT driving haha! This was harder than I thought it would be as the speed limit is 80 mph!

Along I-10, yuccas, wind farms and more.

I love how the yuccas came out! They have so much cool texture. Doing these quick sketches while zipping along at 80 mph means you can’t get fussy — just gotta go with it. I have some more sketches from the trip to share as soon as I take the photos — stay tuned!

#3: Form a Habit

Once we got back home I kept up the daily practice with quick sketches after breakfast of things I found on my walks, like these acorns:

Acorns, drawn to scale — yes, the one on the right really is that large!

Here are a couple more sketches of sunflowers and grasses in our backyard prairie garden, done on a windy day:

Backyard Indiangrass and Maximilian sunflowers

Once again, the wind kept the plants moving, so no time to get fussy.

I’d love to hear about any cool writing instruments or ways your make your drawing practice more fun — hit me in the comments below!

3 Comments · December 1, 2021 at 8:57 pm

Best view i have ever seen !

Bob Cochran · February 13, 2022 at 9:08 pm

Hi Lisa, I too need to work on my drawing skills. I’m a beginner at drawing. Your drawings look very nice. Does the Sailor Fude pen work well for you while camping and hiking about? How about the Blacking pencil? My experience is with Blacking 602s and Naturals, but I don’t use them for drawing. Instead I write in rather cheap notebooks with them. I love them for notes which are written in print rather than cursive writing. I assume you are using a pencil cap to protect your Blackwing’s point. Tombow Mono 100 pencils should be excellent for sketching in pencil. I have several and I like them a lot but I do not do drawing often…and I should be drawing daily. That has to change.

    Lisa Spangler · March 8, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    So far so good on the Sailor Fude! I only had it act up one time when I took it on a plane. I don’t bother with a pencil cap, I just put them in my bag :) I love the Tombow Mono 100 pencils!

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