Pencil Drawing: Charmed – and How to Get Good Ideas for Art

graphite drawing of a little girl
Charmed 7.75 x 9.25 pencil drawing on paper (Available here)

Finishing Artwork After a Long Pause

I started this pencil drawing on a plane while crossing the country. Have you ever sketched to pass the time on a plane with music or an audio book? Highly recommended. Time passes very quickly while you’re immersed in your own little flying art studio. 🙂  The unfinished drawing sat propped against a wall in my studio, until piles of projects inched it backwards, and the drawing fell down behind the table. Months later, I dropped a paintbrush that rolled under the table.  While crawling underneath to retrieve it, there she was, suspended in power cords, looking right at me, with her little palms pressed together in a pleading gesture; Won’t you please finish me? So I did. (She’s available in my Etsy shop.)
pencil drawing of a little girl with her hands pressed together under her chin
Up off the floor and back to work: in process on the table with pencils and blenders

a sketch of a little girl's face in process on an airplane seat tray with a little bag of pencils
In process, on an airplane tray table with a pouch-of-pencils and an audiobook in my headphones

a framed pencil drawing of a little girl's face with her hands pressed together under her chin
All dressed up and ready – Charmed, finished, matted and framed 🙂

Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Steven Johnson illustrates the sequence leading to the birth of a Good Idea in the video below.  He focuses – perhaps not surprisingly – on creating spaces conducive to creativity. But the evolution of your good idea might start with a chain of little hunches over a long period of time. Seemingly disparate notions over time that eventually merge into a greater whole could be the impetus to create a beautiful piece of art.

Chance favors the connected mind.  ~Steven Johnson

We Are Noticers

I think we – as artists – are always scanning the horizon for beauty. We are noticers. We watch dappled sunlight drape over a glass on a window sill, and we stop mid-stride to catch the upside down reflection of a tree against blue sky in a puddle. Even when we aren’t creating, we’re collecting visuals. According to Steven’s video, a crucial germination point for our basket-of-notices and creative hunches is connection to community. Reading art blogs, going to art museums, participating on art-related social media and joining regional art groups all works in the background to propagate creativity. Each of those activities work to connect the dots on our hunches, and sprout new art projects.

Put Your Plan in Motion

Artists germinate good ideas from inspiration, and we get our inspiration muscles super-charged when we make a regular practice of looking at other artists’ work, visiting other artists’ studios, talking to and communing with other artists. SIDE NOTE: It’s helpful – perhaps even required – to trunk & lock down your comparison/envy impulses first.  How will you connect with other artists this week?

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. If you’re in Ventura California, save the dates of October 6 & 7 to come visit at the Ventura Artwalk. I’ll be on California Street with 60+ watercolors and assorted printmaking. Come and say hello.

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Click the kitty to visit this free online mini course – Six Tips to Paint More

Art Quote

Start the drawing in the middle of the face. Find an anchor; a tear duct or a brow ridge, and walk the pencil from one shadow edge to another – not lines, just masses & shapes – no eyelashes, or nostrils or ears. Document the geometry of what you see, measured in the smallest increments.
Use calipers; have a black and white photo of your subject the same size as your drawing, and use calipers to measure the pupils on the reference photo, and then the pupils on the drawing. Keep making adjustments to the masses until the features are right.
~Susan Lyon (workshop notes)

4 thoughts on “Pencil Drawing: Charmed – and How to Get Good Ideas for Art”

  1. What a fabulous and inspiring post Mz Del Pesco! Love your drawing, the subject, and your story — I gotta clean under my art desk right now.

    1. Hah-hah-hahhh – I hope you find an unfinished little gem, or some lost-but-loved colored pencils to ignite an afternoon of fun at your art table. I didn’t mention the cat hair under my table, but *you’ll* know that it was a given. 🙂 Thanks for the compliments, sugar-bear.

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