Love of Learning

“Stormy Day in the Shed” Observational drawing in pencil.

For the past two weeks I have been auditing two online courses to improve my artwork. These courses are free, but if I would like a certificate (at least for one of them) I would have to pay for it. I simply can’t afford that right now, perhaps it will be possible later on but for now, learning for learning’s sake is enough.

“Rainbow Moose” felt tip markers

The first course is Scientific Illustration from the University of Newcastle in Australia. The course has ended so assignments cannot be submitted or graded but all material is free to view at my own pace. I hoped that the course would help enhance my observational ability, and increase the level of accurate detail in my drawings. I have learned to be more aware of tone and dimension. But most of all I have learned that drawing in this extreme level of detail is not enjoyable for me. It just feels so tedious! It sounds negative, but I think pushing myself out of my normal style and using these new methods has helped me establish what is and is not “my style”. And as an artist, that’s extremely valuable!


“Paper Moose” unfixed collage of scrap paper and card.

The second course is called Introduction to Imagemaking, it’s part of a larger graphic design program which I unfortunately can’t do for free. The subject is rather vague and open ended which makes it difficult to explain. It consists of making experimental and exploratory images through various media forms on a chosen subject (they recommend picking an animal) and later making images to deliberately convey meaning and communication. This one is graded by peer review, and I feel a large part of the lesson (or at least what I am personally learning) is how to analyze and comment on the work of your peers. Looking at an image and contemplating it is equally important to the creative process as simply imagining and creating.

Side profile pencil sketch from a photo.

So yeah, it’s all very interesting and getting my creativity flowing. I also found several other courses that I am interested in but I’m taking them a couple at a time, just so I can focus and not become too overwhelmed- easily done with two littles underfoot!

I’ve included here a few of the pieces that I am particularly fond of so far, although I haven’t decided if they belong in my portfolio or not, being coursework and all. Let me know what you think!

Single line drawing in felt tip marker.



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