139 Comments
Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

A friend said that she never has as much fun doing the art as she does going to the art store 😂 I know buying the same materials as one’s favorite artist is no replacement for doing the work. But I do like to nerd out about pens and pencils etc. so…what are your trusty supplies and what are you experimenting with lately? Thanks! ✒️✏️🎨🖼️

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Apr 24Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I have this same question. Maybe even more specific, what is a good starter kit for watercolor and ways to get going using it in quick exercises like the 10min challenge. Additionally if you most of the time only have an access to an iPad and a digital pen do you have any recommendation on working in a similar way with those digital tools?

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How long did it take you to figure out how to make the Venn diagram of who you are really work for you as an artist? We still seem to live in a world of slick, one style only artists and I sometimes feel like a dust bunny full of random bits.

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“Dust bunny full of random bits” is the best description I’ve seen in a while. I was looking over my ego wall recently (well, every time I pass it) and I was wondering when I’d settle down to “my” style. But now I think I’d proudly wear the Dust Bunny Style. Thanks for that.

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You're welcome, ha! Dust Bunnies Unite!

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Wendy - thank you - currently a member of the GUT group but I’m having trouble right now with the negative self talk… I see all this wonderful work posted and I don’t always feel confident enough to share- how do we work past those fears? I bet there’s at least one other person here that feels the same. My skill level is very basic and beginner.

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Apr 25Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Hi Susan. I get nervous/self conscious about sharing in the chat too. I find that if I just commit to it and post quickly, it’s over and I can relax. More importantly, you will never find a more welcoming group than the gut. We are all rooting for everyone. Please post we’d love to see your work.

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This speaks to me. When I engage in negative self-talk (at least once a day), I remind myself that the point is to have fun. And when I have fun, I'm relaxed and magic happens.

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Good evening! I’m having a hard time keeping a drawing practice, and I think it’s in large part because of what I have been trying to figure out: Do I need to first learn how to draw something as close to realistic as possible before breaking the rules and drawing more whimsically/less realistically? I just don’t know if I will ever be able to draw photographically realistic but should I keep trying? Thank you!

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Apr 25Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I'm certainly not an expert or a trained artist, but I don't think there's any rule that you have to learn photo realism first (or ever). There are probably other fundamentals that are worth exploring to gain confidence -- perspective, value, basics of color, etc. All the stuff Wendy has covered in past dispatches. Having at least a basic understanding of some of those things might make your whimsical and fun drawings even more whimsical and fun. I'm thinking of the fruit with feelings exercise. It was great to play with faces (cartoonish/silly/etc.) and also with value and shading to add depth. Also, I would think if there's something hindering your enjoyment of your art (mastering realism) toss it out the window. Go straight to whimsical and stay loose!

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

How do I get to enjoy/feel good about drawing people/animals/living creatures? I want to build a habit to get better at this, but it’s just not fun and feels like a drill :( (and my perfectionism vibes). Help! Thank you Wendy! 🌈 ✍️

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Apr 24Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I so hear you on this! I revert to it being a perfectionistic exercise, even though I tell myself I don’t have to be “good" at it. I have the same question (posted it after yours).

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I just fell and broke right wrist in two places. I was on a roll sketching every day and using colored pencils. I’ve thought about trying everything with my left hand when I’m out of soooo much pain I do water colors and acrylics so I’m game to do anything.

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Ouch! I did the same thing several years ago and broke my left wrist bones and I’m left handed. I suggest you get playful with your non dominant hand and pretend you are in 1st grade again learning to print. And write backwards too, like Leonardo. And draw a giraffe. 🦒

And practice all the rehab exercises to get your full mobility back in your right wrist. Best wishes for your healing!❤️‍🩹

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Apr 24Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I had my left arm in a sling for six weeks a year or so ago, but I was able to keep up with my GUT assignments. Turns out it was easier than I thought it would be to paint wrong-handed. The drawing was pretty funny, but the painting, which required much less fine control they way I do it, came out rather well for a rank beginner. I’m pretty proud of some of those sketches. So don’t despair, just roll with it. And I hope you mend fast.

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So sorry for your broken wrist. Heal well.

There's research out now that shows that exercising the non-injured limb helps with mobility and strengthening the injured limb.

This makes me wonder of drawing with the non-dominant hand, and seeing improvement over time, will positively impact drawing with the dominant hand when you are healed.

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How interesting!!

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Have you ever tried holding the pencil between your toes? It can yield some pretty interesting results!

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What?! Really? Haha. This sounds difficult. And fun, especially if it’s a choice. May try it.

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Ouch! Hope you heal well and feel better soon.

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

That yellow screen video was hilariously cathartic! 😂💛

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founding
Apr 24Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Hi Wendy-- what a fun idea; thanks for being open to answering questions.  In the spirit of abundance, 3 questions came to mind:

1. Given you've been so prolific in your career–please let me fan girl!– writing and illustrating books across many genres, editorial illustration for the NYT and other well-known publications, launching Women Who Draw, TED Talk & Workshop, Draw Together video & podcast series, DrawTogether Strangers, Speaking at the National Gallery of Art, this wonderful DT GUT community on Substack, and that's all just on the top of my head...  What lights you up and gives you energy these days?  How do you want to spend your time and talents?

2. Tips for someone (okay, me) who's been on a quest to find part-time, paid, fulfilling illustration/design work and collaborate with awesome people?  I know having an art practice has so many benefits on its own, but I feel compelled to do "something" with it.  I love learning from established artists and illustrators, but I'm curious to hear advice for and from folks who are in the messy middle of figuring things out.  In the past, conventional advice seemed to be:  find your artistic voice, share your work on Instagram and maybe an art director will find you there, but is that still true? Any lived experience wisdom or practical suggestions to share?

3. Would you consider offering an in-person Draw Together GUT retreat someday? It could be in a parking lot and I think it would still be pretty magical with this community you've created, but can you imagine.... nature + good food + art + GUT?! sign me up! 🙋🏼‍♀️

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I wanna come to the retreat!

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💯 times yes please!!!

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I am new to drawing - kicked off my practice with your 30 day challenge. I’d like to continue to learn drawing techniques (watercolor and hand lettering too) and am overwhelmed by the online offerings. Plus I’d really like to do some in person classes. Willing to do some travel. All suggestions welcome!! Of course my first choice is YOU- if you ever teach! Thanks- Maggie

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Same question but probably not willing to travel, so looking for books or videos or online etc.

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Apr 24Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I think this could help me too over the summer as I'm returning after several decades long break and want to feel more confident and free about drawing..

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

How did you / does one break into illustrations for publications? I am always seeing people thanking art directors for inclusion, and I'm so curious what the pipeline from making work to connecting with some one who buys work is like? It is luck / being noticed? Submitting your work somewhere? Professional representation? Certain places that work is more likely to be noticed? Thanks :)

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Wendy and Julia Rothman started Women Who Draw, a directory for art directors etc to use. Womenwhodraw.com.

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My question is when are they going to accept submissions again? It’s been closed for some time.

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Oh wow! I actually didn't realize that was Wendy too! I signed up there a while ago too :)

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Great! I trust Wendy and others here in the community will have other suggestions.

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I always love hearing people's stories. Feels like magic when a first contact happens :)

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What is the way to find the motivation to build an art career when you’re a complete beginner? A beginner who has significantly build up her art skills over the years. Really want it to work out ✨

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Do you ever teach workshops? If so, when and where?

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How do you recover from burnout? A burnout so bad that after 5 years of consistent art practice and running an art biz, I can't stand my art supplies anymore. 😭

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Apr 25Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Can you recommend an affordable sketchbook/journal that can handle a bit of watercolor? I love my $3 comp book (per ms. Lynda B.) for daily journaling. I bought a $30 watercolor sketchbook that I’m hesitating to start using. Any suggestions... beyond get over it, it’s just paper, have fun, you’ve spend $30 on lunch with a friend for crying out loud!

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Don’t know if you have already figured this out, but I love the Canson mixed media 5.5X8.5 is $10. The paper is heavier than a standard sketch (98lb) 60 pages and it works well for me drawing with pen and watercolor pencils then brushing over with water. It’s big spiral bound with micro perf. pages.

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Thank you! I have tried it and like the paper very much. I don’t know why, but I dislike the spiral bind. I probably need to get over that and get on with drawing!!

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We all have our things!! I like that I can fold back a cover and easily get rid of a page I hate. : )

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Ooh, get rid of pages with no evidence! Good point!

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The canson brand papers have a mixed media notebook that I’ve been using for watercolors that is reasonably priced from Blick.

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May 29·edited May 29

I like the Canson Watercolor Sketchbooks. They look very much like the Canson mixed media book: spiral bound, blue cover, various sizes. Blick has them, you can get them on Amazon and I often can find them with a coupon at Michael's (US craft chain)

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Hi Wendy, first off, I’m in GUT and love it. I’m getting more comfortable capturing moments through drawing, but a nagging voice within says I should first build a foundation through more formal, academic techniques (block-in, measuring proportions, etc) before breaking away from realism and draw in looser, expressive way like I gravitate towards. The voice is loudest when the sketch looks off—e.g. the perspective or angle doesn’t seem quite accurate.

My aspiration is for the drawings to lead into painting in abstraction or abstracted realism. Would love to hear your thoughts and advice!

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

My question is very similar concern, but my main concern is — do I have to first learn to draw as realistically as possible before I can be more whimsical or abstract.

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My thought is that you do you, as Wendy says. Start where you want to. Just draw!

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I do me all the flippin time because honestly I have no other choice. Imitation is actually not in my skill set either although god knows I’ve tried. If I wait till I can draw realistically, I’ll be six feet under. As long as I don’t expect to be on the road to Joan Mitchell or William De Kooning I am happy. I wouldn’t set your goal to be whimsical or abstract realism. Listen to Auntie. Just see what happens. What do I draw best? Asphalt. All it takes is a charcoal or graphite stick. I have fun every day expecting nothing and some days that’s exactly what I get.

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Listen to Pat.

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Yes!! That’s what I tell my family ALL the time. No one listens.

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That’s cuz they’re all adults and to draw is to be as a child!

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Foolish. Kids these days. Of whatever age.

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I'm having trouble getting a daily drawing habit going. I prefer to draw on my iPad with Procreate but sometimes the almost limitless colour and tool possibilities leave me with choice paralysis. I imagine picking a limited colour palette and tool set would help but I'm having trouble getting going. I also have trouble choosing what to draw. Maybe joining the Draw Together Grown Ups Table might help. Anyway... help!

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

I suggest you join the GUT! 😊

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I second Marsha’s advice. Drawing in community is extremely helpful if you want to build a regular practice 😊And GUT is the best community 🎨

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Yes, I agree join the GUT. Play on paper. Experiment, make bad art and you will learn to love the art of making art. Research has shown that quantity leads to quality. Going for quality leads to freezing up and getting stuck.

The more you experiment, the more ideas will come to you.

What brings you joy when you do make art?

What scares you about making art?

Can you respond to those questions with comics?

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I love this so much. But also…I feel like I (can’t) respond to this in a comic…because I feel so frozen and bad at drawing from memory in any representational way :( I’m an abstract/collage/fiber arts person.

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Stick figures. Do it for yourself and no one else. When you're done, it's yours. If you choose to share, in the GuT, you will get love and compassion and encouragement. Check out the Incidental comics substack. His characters are super simple. Also write the words and them make a few doodles. Doi Dots, lines squiggle and see what happens.

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Apr 23Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Agree, join the GUT! I hadn’t drawn since I was a kid but the 30-day drawing practices we have done in GUT were really inspiring and fun.

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Apr 25Liked by Wendy MacNaughton

Agree. Join the GUT! Two thoughts on what to draw -- doodle and draw from life. A simple doodle exercise I love -- (I do this on paper and I've done it in procreate) Make a page of random blobs with watercolor, let it dry (procreate dries quickly 😊 ) then look for shapes and faces within the blobs. Go back with a pen or pencil and see what comes out. Drawing from life - just pick a random (interesting or mundane) object around you. Piece of fruit, a door key, a coffee cup, etc. Maybe limit your materials - pencil and one color or whatever. Then draw it from different perspectives and fill a page. I'm also overwhelmed by the options in Procreate. I do best when I'm trying to emulate the analog materials I like most (ink and watercolor). I'm working my way through a Domestika class for Procreate, and it's at least helping me learn all of the functionality. I still prefer the real materials, but Procreate is a fun option too.

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