Deciding what to Draw

I’m sure a lot of us would love to sketch so much of what we see if only we had the time (or ability), but in reality we always have to make decisions about what we draw.  I always find this interesting because these decisions often unconsciously define who we are, if only for that moment.

The other day I had a few minutes at the playground with the children.  There were so many things I could have sketched; the playground equipment, the trees in the area, the houses and buildings, but instead I sat down and drew my shoe.

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It’s hard to explain why I decided to draw this instead of all of the other options.  I liked the challenge of the foreshortened view and often find my favourite sketches are the simple “everyday” things in life.  Stuff in your bag, what you ate, your desk… These details can say such a lot about a person and maybe that’s why I find them so fun to do.

The next day I managed a little drawing of our county council building from yet another playground (see a common theme here?)  I loved all those strange angles, though I got the proportions a little wrong I feel like it still reads well as a building.

2015-03-17 15.03.59

And here are the trees and bushes to the right of the buildings.  I love both natural and manmade landscapes, but still struggle to render them in a way that makes me happy.

2015-03-18 12.15.22

How do you decide what to draw?  Do you have a favourite subject that you keep coming back to?  Do you think your choices reflect the kind of person you are?


10 thoughts on “Deciding what to Draw

  1. I like to challenge myself and pick subjects from all areas – which is good, but I find I have the most fun and feel the most connected and at ease when drawing or painting something close to me and intimate. Maybe that’s why you chose your shoe! Great sketches and after your selfie, I think you’re moving onto the rest of yourself.


  2. I want to draw everything, just like I think I can make art out of everything I see. Focus is definitely a problem for me. I like that you take your sketchbook to the playground. I never even thought to do that.


  3. Right now I’m trying to draw things that I’m trying to improve at doing – which is pretty much everything! But for the times when I can’t decided, I have an ongoing list of things that I could try drawing & I pick from that.


  4. What an interesting post. Like you and others I have way more images I want to draw then I have time for. Often what I do draw is something that continues to call me, I think this image would be good to draw and see it a number of times until I get down and do the drawing, still wondering why the images speak to me… I am sometimes complimented on the angle of my view in my drawings and this is also interesting as not only is the subject one decision but the angle/composition is another that will change the drawing dramatically. Not to mention the medium, wow I wonder how we get started sometimes. Karen


  5. Isn’t it funny how we as artists often get hung up on finding a style when all of these little decisions that we make add up to a style whether we know it or not? I often go out with a particular project in mind to draw and come back home with something completely different.

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  6. I like the idea of having a list of things to fall back on for those moments when you feel stuck. I often try and do things that I need to work on too, it’s a great way to make a lot of progress.


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