For me what it comes down to is two things. Firstly more often than not where I want to sketch there are people, and quite often lots of these scary beings who might just come over and start watching me draw. What if I mess up? What if it looks nothing like it's supposed to? What if they actually speak to me and say what on earth is it??? Secondly the fear of the sketch book itself. That first blank crisp white page. There it is, waiting for you to make your mark, and that overwhelming fear that it will all go wrong and that first page will be there for ever for everyone to see how bad you are at sketching. AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Do you ever feel like this? I've lost count of the number of years I've gone through this process and come home (or sometimes not even left the house!) with an empty sketchbook and an overwhelming sense of disappointment.
Selfie at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation
As I've had a good chunk of time off work this summer (from teaching), I decided I needed to overcome this FEAR. It didn't start off great, I was always making excuses to myself that I didn't have time or if I was out with other people I didn't want to hold them up.... (the list could go on!) Then I got brave! I decided to book myself onto a sketching workshop for a weekend with the very talented artist Vic Bearcroft. It was held at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent and I thought what better place to do some sketching than with some big cats... I wasn't wrong! I had the most amazing weekend, with the opportunity to get right up close to some incredible animals, take hundreds of photographs, learn about the cats from our fabulous guide Mike and most importantly learn how to go about sketching and then put it into practise!
I would be lying if I said I wasn't filled with the FEAR when we were set loose to sketch but we were taught very practical advice that we could put into practise with just a sketch book and a 2B and 4B pencil (no lugging a massive bag!). We also weren't allowed to take a camera with us when sketching, the thought of which was pretty daunting as I realised I had come to rely on it rather a lot! It did however make me look, and I mean actually allow myself time to study the animals even before putting pencil to paper. A simple but brilliant idea, I actually saw things I never would have!