Steve Huston on Sketching

One of my goals for 2023 is to do more drawing. This isn’t so much a challenge of motivation or drive but rather uninterrupted time. I’m critically short on that, perhaps more so now than ever.

My solution has been to wake up around 4 am each morning and get some drawing in whilst everyone is asleep. This is my most productive time during the day and it’s time well spent drawing. Of course, it’s not always possible, as I’m at the mercy of a toddler’s erratic sleep schedule, but I do what I can.

This morning, I did timed figure sketching alongside Steve Huston in this video on YouTube (you may need to sign in to YouTube to watch the video). Huston is one of my go-to artists for drawing guidance and inspiration. He is a rare breed of both master artist and master teacher.

At 14:34 in the video, Huston says:

“One of the things about sketching and working kinda quick is sometimes you stumble into a new way to draw an eye socket or an eye or face shape because you’re kinda rushing.”

I always thought this was the case, but it’s nice to hear similar thoughts from an artist as accomplished as Huston.

If you only ever work in a slow and calculated manner, you’ll struggle to uncover new ways of doing things as you’ll only ever do what you know works. You need to introduce a bit of chaos into the mix.

Of course, working slow and calculated tends to produce the most reliable and high-quality results. So, you can use sketching to introduce a bit of chaos into your workflow without compromising your more serious artworks. Don’t be safe with the sketching. Try new techniques and approaches. Set a timer and sketch fast. Rely more on your intuition than calculated thought. This is how you stumble into new ways of doing things.

There’s a goldmine of other information in that video so I recommend you watch it in full. Better yet, sketch alongside Huston. Follow his broad strokes and pay particular attention to the way he makes decisions and how he uses his pencil or pen to explore and gain an understanding of the subject.

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Kind regards

Dan Scott

PS. It seems my last email was sent twice for some reason. Sorry for that!


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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