Everyday Sketching, Urban Sketching

Can You Start Drawing When You Don’t Have Much Time?

Drawing on the train and at the station - Pen and Watercolour by Sophie Peanut
Drawing at the station and on the train. I did start drawing and got so absorbed sketching the passenger across from me we missed our stop!!!

The story behind my sketches.

When asked “Why did you decide to start drawing that view? What does it mean to you?” by someone wanting to know the story behind one of my drawings, I struggled to answer. I didn’t have a story.

I was on a family trip and there was dozens of places I would have loved to sketch but I didn’t get the opportunity to stop.

I didn’t choose the view – it wasn’t as good as many of the spots I’d seen earlier in the day. I just happened to have 20 minutes waiting for my husband and kids. So I  took my sketchbook out to start drawing.

The building had no significance to me – although now I have drawn it, I do feel a special connection to it.

Start drawing while chatting with family
Chatting with family – I tried to record snippets of conversation on the page too

Stop making excuses and start drawing

For years I had dipped in and out of drawing with various excuses.

  • Not enough time
  • Too many children to look after
  • No studio space
  • Not the right materials
  • Too messy
  • Takes too long to set up
  • Have nothing good enough to draw
  • Lack of inspiration
  • Not talented enough
  • Needed to take a class to get better before i could start properly
Pen and watercolour drawing by Sophie Peanut
Drawing outside my house on a Summer’s evening

I would draw when I:

  • Have more time
  • The children have grown
  • Have a studio
  • Get the right inspiration
  • Enrol the right class
  • Have the right tools

Eventually the penny dropped. If I wanted to start drawing, I NEEDED to DRAW NOW. I could use every spare bit of time I had to draw – it would add up and I would build up a drawing practice.

Sketch in pen and watercolour - Halifax Town Hall Uk - By Sophie Peanut
A quick drawing of Halifax Town Hall while out shopping. Coloured at home later

So that’s what I did:

  • Waiting at the doctors? Start drawing.
  • On the train? Start drawing.
  • Meeting a friend in a cafe? arrive early and… start drawing.
  • Waiting for kids to come out school? Start drawing.

It was nearly two years ago. All the little bits of time did add up and I now have piles of drawings show for it.

Make the best of short time windows

Bedenac France - Drawing in pen and watercolour
On holiday – I sketched while the kids were still sleeping one morning.

To make the best use of the little time I have, I’ve kept my kit simple and accessible at all time. Zero set up time = more drawing time.

I use pens, watercolours, pencils and I draw in sketchbooks that I can keep in my handbag or around the house. I can use them when I am out and about or draw whatever takes my fancy at home.

I have drawn at the doctor’s, on the train, in the park, in cafes at kid’s parties and more. When I am out, I often take a picture and finish my drawings later at home.

It has been a fun journey so far. The more I draw, the more I want to draw. I have build up my skills and improved too.

I will carry on that journey and let my sketchbooks, pens and watercolour guide me along one drawing at the time! I don’t know where it will lead me but I am excited!

Read this post on the Urban Sketchers’ web site.

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