Rembrandt apprenticed with Jacob van Swanenburg, Pieter Lastman, and Jacob Pynas. He was also influenced by Caravaggio and Peter Paul Rubens.We can STILL learn from these artists too by studying their work! We have access to resources even Rembrandt didn't have. We have books, museums, internet.Online resources are near-infinite, much of it free: online tutorials, YouTube videos. Great art teachers now very affordably putting their teachings online.We have access to so much that we sometimes forget to open our sketchbooks and draw. Some books are now in the public domain, and available for free online.
Rembrandt did not have a PlayStation. Think about what that meant for his productivity!
Dear friend,
I’ve been filling my buffer of newsletters to send out. I have written up until the middle of August, but now I have to also start adding art to all these newsletters!

Sometimes I think we’re making things too hard on ourselves. Deadlines and schedules take all the fun out of it, don’t they?

I’m having fun creating finished pieces for the moment. This newsletter kind of doubles as a sketchbook now as I experiment with different approaches to inking and coloring. You probably don’t notice, but the drawings in this letter were done with different pens and by using them differently. I noticed long ago that artists I admired, who I thought had “a style” actually experimented quite a lot! Especially if they worked for decades, you can see them try many different things. You might not notice that at first glance, but they did, quite a lot.

It makes sense, if you think about it. Why would they be any happier about their output than you and I are? So you try thing, you try to improve your output, you try to make it better. And you try different tools, and you try different approaches.

When looking at a painting, I love it when I can tell that it was one in a long list of paintings where the painter was experimenting like crazy. The painting was just an experiment. Some things worked, some didn’t, and on to the next one.

I am finding this a particularly rewarding way to practice at the moment: making finished pieces, one after the other. Maybe I’ve been in my sketchbook too long, practicing, practicing, practicing.

When you finish a drawing, it gives a feeling of satisfaction. You finished something. You see things wrong with it. It’s useful to note them and to try to try different approaches in the next things you make.

With the illustrations for this letter, I started with line-only art. It did look nice, but color and tone... just adds something, it just adds magic. I considered cross-hatching, and may do so in the future, but that is a lot more work! So I decided to try color. I like some of these illustrations and I am learning a lot from actually trying to finish drawings. I’ve been practicing in sketchbooks too much.

The week after this week, the newsletter will contain illustrations with more black in them.

We experiment along!

Are you trying finished pieces one after the other? Try to note what you think works and what doesn’t, and try changing tools and processes to see what happens!

My Favorite Drawing Exercises

If you feel like drawing, then check out my favorite drawing exercises!

Do these exercises

form studies to warm up, slow down, get into the right meditative state, and improve your draftsmanship skills.

Do these form studies

form studies to help you improve creating underdrawings, place things in space, practice doing perspective by sight.

Practice drawing from memory to fill your visual bank, ability to memorize, ability to visualize, ability to draw what you see in your imagination and your ability to see what is wrong with your drawings.

If you find it hard to create or maintain a creative habit, you can find some habit-related tips here. Lastly, also make sure you have fun in your sketchbook after the hard practice!

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