The best drawing teacher.

A couple of days ago, I filled out the Sketchbook Skool survey we placed at the end of our most recent course, Playing. I shared it on Facebook but because FB is such a temporary place to store important thoughts, I am reproducing it here.

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What’s your name?
Danny Gregory

How did you find out about Sketchbook Skool?
My friend Koosje told me about it.

‘Playing’ | Your Experiences

Why did you sign up for this Kourse?
I have been worrying so much about perfection, about ‘getting better,’ about ‘making art’ that I was losing the pure joy of making. The idea of playing for a few weeks seemed like it would be fun. I didn’t want to just learn more new techniques, I wanted to reconnect with the spirit of creativity I had when I was six, a spirit that burned the hottest I’ve ever experienced and that made Picasso great.

Was the kourse what you expected?

What did you expect?
I expected some people to like it and some to be disappointed. I expected some people to let loose and dance the hootchy-kootchy and some to complain it was for kids and grumble that they had paid $69. I expected some people to grumble right off and then do one assignment that opened their eyes wide and they would go back and look back at the assignments they had just skimmed and suddenly find delight. I expected some adults to share their new found creative energy with kids, making sure that those kids never forgot how much fun art can be. I expected to be inspired by the enthusiasm and freshness I saw in the galleries.

Do you prefer the more shorter lessons, which is the style of Playing? Do you like more emphasis on projects than on lectures?
I thought the change was good. I’d heard a lot of people say they didn’t have time to do the more complex assignments they got in ‘Stretching’ and ‘Storytelling’ so I thought just screwing around with crayons would be a nice break.

If you’ve taken a Sketchbook Skool Kourse before, was ‘Playing’ a welcome change?
I loved learning from the great artists who teach at SBS. But the parts of the klasses that stretch me the most are the homework assignments. I learn a lot from doing them and from seeing what others do. I thought a kourse that was all about making stuff would be a cool change.

I have been drawing for twenty years and this is how I learned. I believe that it is the only way — to be inspired and to take my lit fuse and blast off in my own personal direction.

Sketchbook Skool | How do you feel about it?

At Sketchbook Skool we believe that the best way for you to learn is to be inspired, rather than giving you a lot of step-by-step instructions. How do you feel about that?
I have been drawing for twenty years and this is how I learned. I believe that it is the only way — to be inspired and to take my lit fuse and blast off in my own personal direction.

How do you experience Sketchbook Skool: Is it about exploring yourself or about community?
SBS inspires me to start and the community keeps me going.
The lessons make me challenge my assumptions, make me marvel at what is possible with just a pen and a book, and make me accept responsibility for my own creations and education — I am my own best teacher.
The community stretches me further, shows me more of what is possible, supports me when my monkey gets me down, pushes me to keep getting better and insists I stick to my creative habits.
I could draw alone. I could learn alone. I could evaluate my work alone.
But passion is so much better when it’s shared.

If you want to continue this face-to-face, come meet me in Phoenix.   I’m heading there now.

4 thoughts on “The best drawing teacher.”

  1. I love this!!!
    I am inspired !
    I want to draw and draw and draw.
    Thank you Danny Gregory.
    So glad I discovered ‘Everyday Mattters ‘while doing some random surfing 6 years ago….


  2. Thanks for your survey Danny and for your response to Tyanne’s honest comments. My own initial response to ‘Playing’ and its simplified format and assignments was to feel a little disappointed ….BUT then….I made up my mind to approach all the videos and suggested assignments as if they were equally important to my development as an artist as any that might have been assigned in a bricks and mortar art school or atelier. I’m realizing just how much I have grown over the 4 semesters of SBS; how much I just love to draw now, anything, anywhere, with any tool and how much SBS has fostered creativity in me as an individual maker of art (small a). I’m not chasing any cherished dream for comissions or recognition of my name or my art (although it was like scoring Olympic gold to be featured on the Stillman and Birn site) but I am genuinely celebrating that the drawings I make are recognizably ‘me’ and not a deliberate composite of anyone else’s wonderful work or techniques. Sure I have looked at some YouTube videos with helpful techniques explained where I have information gaps. It is also true that I’ve never taken a formal class or been on a group art holiday to hone my watercolor skills on location but Danny and all the wonderful SBS faculty have helped me dispatch the ‘monkey’ from my personal zoo and have Boosted my confidence that I can discover drawing and painting by such experimentation and by playing with the everyday stuff that helps shape my daily life….. and if my results bless other people along the way and brings a smile of recognition to some faces….then BONUS.
    Now…where did I put my crayons????
    BTW…I never did locate the survey option at the Skoolhouse site….so I just added my reactions in narrative form at the end of ‘Playing’.


  3. OK don’t be mad, but I didn’t take playing because that isn’t where I find my personal inspiration – I find that in your books, looking at the illustrations of the marvelous artists – all of them. But what made me pay for Sketchbook Skool – and love it so much – was seeing the process of artists whose skill I admire, who share their methods and sketchbooks, and whose techniques I want to make my own – – that’s what really gets my creative brain and hand flowing!!!


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