Why YOU should sketch

We all rush around feeling busy, and notice less and less of our surroundings. Many people feel disconnected with each other and may try to reconnect - often using social media.
Fewer people notice their disconnect with the real world around them. Even on holiday, people barely break their stride to whip out their phone and take a quick snap.
As humans we love to collect and posses things, especially beautiful things - photos seem to tick that box. In our consumer age, the act of buying a pair of shoes, or a bag, is what gives more pleasure than the object itself (why else would people own so many things? Why would they keep buying after finding the perfect something?)
It's the same with quick snaps. We feel an urge to capture a moment, or a view, without pausing to absorb the details of its beauty,  or taking time to enjoy pleasure in the positive emotions from that moment.
Instead, it's smile, snap, move on.
Taking time to sit and look, really look, with a camera,  watching and waiting for that perfect moment is a completely different experience. It requires forethought, a knowledge of your surroundings, of the natural elements, that can only come with practice. The pleasure of taking this kind of photo has a deeper resonance, a longer lasting sense of satisfaction.
Now take that feeling and multiply it. That's what happens when you sketch.
You have to notice the details, the shapes, the interplay of light and shade.
And it takes time.
Sketching requires you to stop, to be still. Sketching clears your mind of everything except what is in front of you, and representing that on the paper in front of you.
This works if you are 'talented' or not.
In my opinion, there are two differences between a 'good' sketcher and a 'bad' one:
A good sketcher has a pen or pencil in their hand and is actually drawing; a bad sketcher never starts.
A good sketcher enjoys the experience,  and sees their sketch as a souvenir of a moment in time; a bad sketcher belittles their own attempts and gives up.
Pick up a pen and a scrap of paper and get out there!

Before you rush off, Alain deBotton has written an essay on this topic, and created a clip to go with it.
Please take a few moments to ponder what he says, and enjoy this wonderful poem by Windsor Henry Davies, written in 1911

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


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