I have a pointy rock in the backyard somewhere.

It’s about 10 inches tall. I could draw and redraw it on a single sheet and produce a mountain range. Worth a try, wouldn’t you say? For idle drawing.

Sometimes it’s good to make idle drawings.

Where do your drawing ideas come from? Leave some suggestions in a comment.

8 thoughts on “Making mountains by addition

  1. I never really thought about having ideas for drawing. I draw what’s around or also from photos. Hands are always available. Leaves I pick up outside. I have a collection of shells, those are also good. Boots. No purpose to it really.

  2. Drawing is vast territory, isn’t it? Drawings can be planned forays into some subject. They can be elaborate, detailed, keenly observed, perceptive, etc. And they can be spare, quick, summary, evocative and poetic. Idle drawings are a wonderful sort — flexible, amenable to whimsy and discovery. I love both the freedom of drawing and it’s capaciousness.

  3. That’s an intriguing observation. People do worry about drawing, and perfectionism is a kind of anxiety that often troubles artists (and others). Sometimes I probably draw as a form of avoidance, to postpone doing something directly in a painting. Hard to say because drawing is such a useful tool of thought that one hesitates to say it’s ever “too much.” And drawing can be a direct way of finding solutions to particular problems which can then smooth out the hesitations.

    It’s like practicing scales in music. Because scales form the music’s structure, practicing scales can help musicians gain dexterity and familiarity with nearly anything complex that they’re likely to play. Practicing scales is not playing music, but it makes playing more fluid. Drawing can serve a similar function by taking an image apart into more digestible bits: shape/proportion/contour, linear rhythm, fluid mark making, tonal variation, etc.

    But the difference between a tool for practice versus expression isn’t always obvious in art. If a drawing turns out really well, observers might not realize that the artist made the drawing to “solve a problem.” The problem solving doesn’t always relate to obvious notions of “mistakes” either.

    I made some studies for a still life painting where I drew a circular plate in ellipse. The drawing was obviously a more accurate depiction of the plate than what appeared in the painting. Once I had the two for comparison, I realized the drawing was more “correct.” However, in that instance it demonstrated for me that I liked the distortion better. Until I had the two forms side by side to compare, I didn’t realize that the distorted version I’d painted was the superior version. So then I had no qualms about not “correcting” it. Thus “fixing” the mistake in a drawing provided some useful insight into why I liked the mistake. You never really know where these things will lead. That’s the element of exploration that I find so delightful.

  4. That’s an interesting comparison. I don’t draw as an exercise for doing anything else, but I find my drawings often have more life because I’m not worrying them.

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