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.

Drawing with Tim

Tim is three now and it’s high time he learned a trick or two. I read in an old German dog-training handbook (“Wie die Ausbildung von drei Kilo Wiener, um Ihnen eine heiß Tasse Kaffee” by Dackel J. PferdApfel) that, with the judicious application of a stout cudgel and hard taffy, one can get even the most timid long-haired miniature Dachshund to speak.

We spent a frustrating weekend working through the manual with Tim and were finally rewarded with his first few words. After a month of follow-up work, he is now entirely fluent in English, has shed most of his Dusseldorf accent (replaced for some reason with a Bensonhurst growl), and bores us with long monologues about lunch meat, cats, and the perils of thunderstorms.

Now we’re working on a much bigger challenge — getting him to draw. On Tuesday night, we began his first drawing lesson and he did a passable portrait of me, before moving on to sketch some flank steak, a barbecued chicken and a meatloaf. Fortunately, a local documentary film crew was on hand to capture his first faltering steps and they’ve been posted online.

I urge you to try to encourage your own family members to draw. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s easier than chasing your tail.

This video is also available in HD and on Youtube.