Go Wild

When you draw a leaf that has become a fragile net of veins, you are really marveling at the wonder of nature and finding a way of capturing that fragility.

The Art of Drawing

Lauren learned flower fairy tales and woods lore from her grandfather, who was an avid naturalist and artist. The fleeting delicacy of wildflowers and the pristine climate they thrive in is there to be enjoyed, but should be carefully respected and protected. Don't pick wildflowers; go out and visit them and draw them where they live. You will both be better off for the effort.

Wildflowers are Lauren's favorites; they have always been. They were like friends when she was a kid, and are still. For Lauren, the best part of spring is seeing them return, waiting for a special one, and hunting in woods or fields to find a wildflower that she hasn't seen lately. Wildflower meadows are great places to find beautiful and plentiful drawing subjects. The natural arrangements are fun and freeform, without the pressure of a highly arranged still life. Or, take the challenge to see a great composition lurking in that aimless meadow.

You can tell how much the Italians love their gardens by looking at Italian artwork. The attention to detail and the variation is endless. One of Italian artists' favorite subjects (other than overweight women and prophets, that is) is the almighty vegetable. But don't run back inside and open the crisper of your refrigerator. Let's try drawing some vegetables before they've been separated from their leaves and vines.

Drawing in your (or someone else's) vegetable garden is a season-long endeavor. You can begin at planting time, when the first compost is mixed with the newly defrosted earth and you lay in the rows where you'll plant your seeds. Try to capture how that fresh-turned earth smells (especially if your compost includes manure ... ).

Next, it's planting time. Draw a quick sketch after the seeds are raked in. Get the idea? You 're making a record of a season in your vegetable garden, one step at a time.

Soon, the first fragile green seedlings will pop up. Get out there with your sketchbook and draw them, too. Sure, the drawing will still be mostly dirt, but soon enough your garden will be bursting with growth, and you'll have your drawing to see how far it—and you— have come.

Before you know it, the first pickings will be ready. Draw them drooping from their vines, and then draw them in their baskets, freshly picked.

How did mere dirt end up as so much bounty? Too many vegetables, so little time. Still, take a minute to sketch the bumper crop, before the big giveaway. Be sure to include that sign at the end of your driveway: "Free Zucchini."

The natural beauty of wildflowers is a natural for your sketchbook, too.

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Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

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