Take inspiration directly from nature with Seasalt artist Matt, as he shares his techniques for mindful sketching.
For me, sketching outside is all about seeing things first-hand and taking the time to really look at the landscape.
Drawing focuses your attention entirely on the surroundings and the present moment, so it can be a great exercise in mindfulness.
I try not to worry about the finished picture. The sketch is just a way to make you look at something for a sustained time and examine it, bit by bit, like a meditation. Then when you’ve finished, it’s lodged in your memory, no matter how the actual drawing came out.
I often start by simplifying what I can see into rough blobs of paint. Once those are dry, I add details over the top. I keep to just a few colours, or no colour at all, so I don’t have too many choices to make, but I like using a few different pens and pencils so there’s a variety of marks.
We have the amazing scenery of the Helford nearby, but you don’t need the most epic view in the world. There are things worth drawing everywhere. I try not to be picky, and if I can’t decide where to start I just draw the nearest tree.
Outdoor Sketching Tips
Before you leave home
- Travel light and with a limited palette – keep to just a few colours, so you don’t have too many choices to make.
- Sharpen all your pencils.
- If you have a large sketchbook, grab a couple of bulldog clips to stop the pages blowing everywhere.
- Dress warmly – standing still, you can get cold quickly.
When you’re out and about
- If I can’t decide where to start, just draw the nearest tree.
- Treat the first drawing you do as a warm-up. It really helps to take any pressure off and will help you focus on the process, not on the end result.
- Don’t try to draw everything – simplify and leave things out as you see fit.