I stumbled across an interesting resource just now: Wet Canvas!
Lots of "channels" with advice and inspiration for tons of different art disciplines and media...and nearly 100,000 members from whom to learn. Membership is free -- and gives you a $5-off coupon at Dick Blick Art Materials.
Amazing what I can find when I really should be working.
I got up the nerve to mess with a little color. The paper's white, but I took the photo in incandescent light, which my dying camera reads as even more yellow than you see here (oh, and love the little shadow in the upper right corner on all my photos...)
In my voracious (and distracting-from-work) reading about all things sketchy and brushy lately, I caught what sounds like a cool hint:
Draw something upside down.
No, don't flip over, pencil in hand.
Turn a photo or drawing you want to sketch upside down, and draw what you see. The idea is that you will see the forms that are really there -- the way you used to see as a child, before logic muddied things up. It's drawing without assuming the forms add up to anything you've learned to recognize.
I sketched this more or less from one of my favorite photos, which a friend took during a tropical storm on the Gulf Coast. My rays are too pronounced, the proportions are all off, and the fact that the photo evokes strong emotion for me shows blatantly...but you get the idea. This exercise reminds me that 1) subtlety was never my strong point in anything; and 2) knowing when to stop -- knowing when I'm "done" -- is very, very difficult.
Meet beautiful Ms. Agnes, whose photo in a local nursing home's calendar inspired my very first attempt at drawing a person. She is as pretty and sparkling as June -- the month she's featured -- and capturing the memories in her face and the twinkle in her eye proved very very difficult. I don't know her, but I think I'd like to.
Here you can see the mistakes in proportion and symmetry I've made...but still, this is really fun.
Factoid of the day: To better understand perspective in a painting,Leonardo DaVinci set up two easels and placed a large sheet of glass on them so that it straddled the gap. He then traced what he saw through the glass.