I Draw, Therefore I See

Drawing from life, daily practice, just showing up on the page.

In January, I made a commitment to myself to draw something-anything-every day.  I got a spiral bound sketch pad (Hobby Lobby, cheap!) which I tuck into my purse every day, along with a small bag full of pencils and pens.  It has become a habit to take out these simple tools and materials and sketch whatever is in front of me, wherever I am.  My husband, daughter and cats are my usual subjects because they are ever-present and available as models.  I have sketched my daughters’ volleyball team members, people in airports, my hand, other peoples’ hands, chairs, books, flowers, working men across the school from where I pick up Maeve. After a month of this practice, I see progress as evidenced by my ability to catch the essence of a subject in fewer yet stronger lines.

Frederick Franck, in his delightful and sensitive book: Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing talks about drawing as a practice for learning how to See (yes, that is a purposeful capital S). In order to really capture the spirit of a subject one must really look at its details; one must be fully present. It is actually quite exhilarating to be so involved in what I draw, and I am certain this practice helps lower my blood-pressure and keep my breathing steady.  Drawing relaxes me.  I don’t worry about how good the drawing is-I just move my pencil across the page. I try not to look too much at the page as I draw, and my grasp of the pencil is very loose.  Perhaps by the end of the year, drawing will be such a normal extension of myself that it will seem effortless.

Besides these small gestural drawings, I am also revisiting  books on perspective and proportion.  For instance, I am far more likely to get a good quick sketch of a hand if I understand what the structure of a hand looks like-if I have a blueprint of a hand in my mind. I go to Peck’s book “Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist” for these studies.  Although I still can’t remember the names of bones and muscles in a hand, I know what they look like!

And so I am off to draw again. My cat is yawning, perched and waiting for me to begin so she can jump off the table and into my lap.


  1. Hi Sharon,

    I’m wondering where did you get that quote “I draw, Therefore I See”? I’ve heard it before but don’t know where


  2. could you email me at colinssean@hotmail.com ?


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