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Roadmap

Your first few weeks at Creative Triggers

This guide will take you through the first 4 to 6 weeks of getting your practice habit established.

Consider this a roadmap. You may decide to take some detours down particularly interesting looking side roads. But as long as you keep in mind your general route, you won’t go far wrong.

The exercises have been presented here in the order in which I think will help you to progress most effectively. Start at the top and work down.

Week One: Getting your practice habit established

Exercise: Just Open Your Sketchpad (JOYS).

Time: 5 – 10 minutes per day (longer if you’re enjoying it), every day for one week.

Why: To begin establishing your habit of showing up for practice every day.

Breathing Lines

Start by reading the overview. This exercise is in three parts, each a different medium. It starts very easy, but the last stage will stretch you.

1.

Exercise: Breathing Lines, Pencil

Time: 5 – 10 minutes a day, for 4 to 6 days

Why:

  • To consolidate our regular habit without the pressure of producing a finished piece of work
  • To get into a calm and meditative state of mind for our drawing practice
  • To practice effortless control of our materials

2.

Exercise: Breathing Lines, charcoal

Time:  15 minutes a day, for 4 to 6 days

Why: 

  • All the reasons above, and:
  • To get used to making smooth, regular lines with charcoal. Many of the later exercises will be done in charcoal

3.

Exercise: Breathing Lines, brush and ink

Time:  15 minutes a day, for 4 to 6 days

Why: 

  • All the reasons above, and:
  • To get used to using a Chinese or Japanese brush and ink. Most of the design exercises will be done with these materials. They are capable of great subtlety as well as strong, confident statements. They require concentration to use well. Prepare to be frustrated at first!

Corner Ornament

This is our first real design exercise. Deceptively simple, it stretches our sensitivity to proportion and spacing, the root of good design. Start by reading the overview here.

1.

Exercise: Corner Ornament, initial designs

Time:  1530 minutes a day, for 1 week. More if you enjoy it and want to stretch yourself.

Why: 

  • To begin to stretch our creativity in a simple, low pressure exercise
  • To begin to stretch our sense of spacing and proportion – the core skill of picture design

2.

Exercise: Corner Ornament, refining a design

Time:  1530 minutes a day, for 1 week. More if you enjoy it and find you can continuously improve on your design

Why: 

  • To further stretch your sensitivity to spacing and proportion in design. Repeatedly refining your design pushes you beyond your comfort zone. To do this exercise really well and not rush it is hard, but enjoyable.

3.

Exercise: Corner Ornament, tracing in brush and ink

Time:  30 minutes a day, for 1 week. More if you enjoy it and find you can continuously improve on your design

Why: 

  • To push your sense of spacing and design even further, by striving to create a more beautiful tracing each time.
  • Done well, it’s a form of meditation.

Work patiently through these initial exercises, and you should find that as well as getting your regular daily practice habit established, you’ll be starting to take a slower, more meditative approach to practice. The quality of your marks should be improving and your sense of design developing.

Back to the main exercises page.