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The Incurable Hobbyist Four: Oodles of Doodles

Posted by Christine / September 25, 2011

20110925-Drawings.jpg The Incurable Hobbyist is a highly subjective monthly series that examines various hobbies and the areas of the city that offer means to facilitate their practice. The goal is to inspire curious readers to develop hobbies they'll grow to love dearly, filling their hearts with the singular joy that comes with learning something special, something new.

Drawing is my oldest hobby, and is likely yours also. Some of my earliest memories are of my own tiny fingers forbidding themselves to rest until I had scrawled a satisfactory circle.

It's been told that when The Church approached Michelangelo about painting the Sistine Chapel, they first asked him for a sample of his work. He responded by drawing a perfect circle, securing his place in history as a true master. However, I've also heard that only the insane are capable of drawing a symmetrical circle in freehand. All this might be unverifiable flimsy hearsay, anyways. Regardless, seeing as my circles were and still are imperfect, it seems as though I don't have to worry about the demands of artistic genius or the burdens of madness. For now at least.

Doodling is truly one of the most accessible of past-times. Standard quality paper and pencils are fairly cheap and easy to come by. DeSerres is my favorite choice for this endeavor. I tend to use an array of Derwent B graphic pencils, with the 2B being the most used amongst my collection. Thicker pencils like 9B are great for shading or for contrasting with a thinner pencil to create textured elements. They cost a dollar or two each. You can also pick up some blank sheets of paper or notebooks there.

If you're in the market for stylish notebooks, I would recommend Renaud-Bray. They have a great selection ranging from whimsical to fancy. Just make sure that you're purchasing one with blank, unlined sheets. Also, this store generally offers smaller format notebooks. They usually cost between ten and twenty dollars. If you like to draw large images, these products are not for you.

My Renaud-Bray notebook features an image of a cartoon who looks remarkably like me. Above her reads, "Elle passe son temps a faire des dessins, pourtant je n'en ai jamais vu un seul". Roughly translated as, "She spends her time drawing, and yet I've never seen a single one." The back image reveals the same girl, encircled by the now-alive dragon flies she had drawn. Cute.

Sometimes, you have all the tools you need, but have been routinely using them in another context. I know I'm not the only one whose university copybooks expressed an inverse relationship between level of academic concentration and ludicrously elaborate tessellating designs or portraits in the once-empty margins. Cross-hatched Michael de Montaigne and Hobbes still sit with a quiet dignify amongst my old hastily written class notes.

If you'd like to take drawing lessons, there are many options for you. Syn Studio offers a vast array of choices, such as drawing from life, drawing the human form and storytelling through comics. According to their official website, "(They) have eight amazing art teachers, including legendary comic book artists, award winning fine artists and top video game artists who have worked for such companies as Marvel and DC Comics, Ubisoft and EA." Syn Studio is located at 94 Saint-Catherine East, #7.

Creative Boost has a foundation drawing class. According to their official website, "This 10 week class will cover the foundations of drawing from observation. Good for beginners or advanced students who wish to start afresh. Creative teaching methods and dynamic exercises will give the students confidence and empower them to navigate past the main roadblocks confronted when learning to draw." Creative Boost is located at 279 Sherbrooke West, #315.

Some say you're born with talent, you place pencil to paper and beautiful things are born. Others argue that talent can only be honed with practice. I'm not sure where I stand on this particular topic, but I'm sure it doesn't matter. If you enjoy drawing, then draw. That's all.

So said the maestro:

"In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing."

-Vincent Van Gogh

Drawings by yours truly. Photo editing by Andrew Davies.

Discussion

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