Drawing inspiration from nature


  Drawing inspiration from nature

The key to capturing the spirit of nature is not to try too hard. In fact, the best way to do it is by breaking out of your normal routine and going for a walk in a nearby park. Look around. The trees, leaves, mountainsides: they tell stories that we are far too busy to notice. Watch for changes in the light and patterns in the clouds as they move through the sky. Pay attention when you look at your feet on a forest floor or see how tiny little flowers pop up where you’re least expecting it.

Label: [page 2 panel 1]
Title: How to use your eyes
THE GIST OF IT: The goal of drawing inspiration from nature is to not try too hard. Instead, go for a walk in a nearby park, look around, and let nature inspire you.
For the illustrations in this book, I preferred to work with an old sketchbook. This was because I wanted to be able to multi-task as often as possible—drawing pictures and creating sketches in my sketchbook at the same time. That way, when I was working on a specific illustration, I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving any loose ends behind. With a sketchbook, all of your loose ends are right there where you can easily refer back to them as needed.

Label:  Page 87 bottom panel; title: The key to capturing the spirit of nature is not to try too hard.
Label: How about you? Do you have a go-to place where you like to draw inspiration from nature? If so, feel free to share! We'd love to learn about it.
Label:  Page 88 top panel; title: ...the goal of drawing inspiration from nature is not to TRY too hard.
Label:  Page 88 bottom panel; title: Let nature inspire you.
Title: The next six pages are all about trees and plants (and mushrooms).
The key difference between this one and the last one is the shapes that the lines make. Notice how the branches of the trees are more angular, and the leaves are more pointy. This is because they are made up of tiny lines, and that means they taper at the end.

Label: [page 102 bottom panel; title: whether a tree branch is curved or straight]
Title: LINE-CURVES AND LINE-STRINGS [page 102 last panel]
Label: [page 104 left panel; title: Which one is which?]
The goal of drawing inspiration from nature is to not TRY too hard. Instead, go for a walk in a nearby park, look around, and let nature inspire you. There’s no such thing as bad drawing materials...

Label: [page 108 bottom panel; title: Embracing the power of lines]
Note: This image was some of the first beginnings that I made for this book. I kept all of them. (Not all are in this book.)
The group show was called "Recipes for Life" and it was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in San Francisco, CA. The show included artists working with cooking ingredients like turpentine and linseed oil—things that I had never worked with before. It was an amazing experience to work with a bunch and be surrounded by so many different kinds of drawings.

Label: [page 114 bottom panel; title: Some of this book’s influences came from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art .]
It can be a lot of fun to add your own colors to a line-only drawing. I usually start by picking one or two colors for the background and then pick one or two colors for the character. Then, I start brainstorming ways that those two colors might mix. For example, if I decide to color my character red, green and yellow, then maybe the background should be red and blue (since those are the primary colors). The idea is that you are mixing both primary and secondary colors in order to create new and exciting color combinations.

Label: [page 116 bottom panel; title: The colors we use might also affect the mood of the drawing.]
…when you’re working with a lot of different materials, it’s important that you don’t get overwhelmed by them. When I was drawing my character for this page, I started out by using markers. Then, I switched to using colored pencils. And then for the background, I used a marker again (but in a different color). So all of that switching was happening while I was still creating the same page—I didn’t stop to think about which materials were used and when.

Label: [page 119 right panel; title: Each time you work with a different material, it can be helpful to think about your materials as if you were creating a new object.]
Using an empty 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper, start by drawing or tracing from your reference photo. (The idea is that instead of brainstorming ideas for how to make a page, you’re still focusing on what the character looks like and trying to capture that.) Then, take some of the paper away. In this case, I took the background away on both sides. This gives me extra room in which I can draw more carefully without worrying so much about getting everything perfect and neat. ...

Label: [page 121 top panel; title: I took away the background on both sides]

Label: [page 121 bottom panel; title: Sometimes, we need to challenge ourselves.]
When I draw, I like to have a limited set of tools available so that I can challenge myself. (It’s the same reason why, sometimes, when I work with other people, they’ll say that they want to feel like they’re at home.) In this illustration, my goal was not only doodling but also replicating the textures of the brush strokes.

Conclusion: When you challenge yourself, sometimes you’ll fail. It’s okay to feel bad about that.
Label: [page 127 bottom panel; title: It’s okay to feel bad about failing.]
Every time I sit down to write, I find that I struggle with the middle of the book. This is why I like to turn back and look at all of my earlier pages—especially if they are really different from each other. At first, it can be hard to figure out what is similar between all of those pages and what is different; but once you do, it’s pretty fun!

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