Non-Dominant Hand Drawing by J. Logan Carey

Part of my routine of drawing in my doodlebook is on every fifth page I draw with my non-dominant hand, which is my left. When I first came across this idea in Stefan Baumann's video, "Doodle Your Way to Being a Great Artist," I was skeptical, but intrigued. I've enjoyed the challenge of it and as I've finished this doodlebook I thought I would share my results with everyone.

Remember, with the doodlebook, the idea is not to draw big elaborate sketches, just to doodle throughout your day, while you're at work or on the phone or at a restaurant. I feel like it has really helped me work drawing more into my daily routine then just trying to do some solid periods of time at the end of the day.

For those interested, I used a Strathmore 400 Series Visual Drawing Journal, 5.5"x8".

 My first left hand page. I was kind of amazed at how it turned out. Although it's not very accurate, the stylistic quality is hard to miss.

My first left hand page. I was kind of amazed at how it turned out. Although it's not very accurate, the stylistic quality is hard to miss.

 Just drawing little things I see on my desk throughout the day.

Just drawing little things I see on my desk throughout the day.

 Decided to do a portrait from imagination, the proportions came out all strange, but very interesting.

Decided to do a portrait from imagination, the proportions came out all strange, but very interesting.

 Random things seen on the internet.

Random things seen on the internet.

 Tried a brush pen, wasn't really happy with the results so this was the only day I didn't just use a pen.

Tried a brush pen, wasn't really happy with the results so this was the only day I didn't just use a pen.

 More stylish that comes solely from using a hand to draw that I don't normally.

More stylish that comes solely from using a hand to draw that I don't normally.

 Just drawing random ideas.

Just drawing random ideas.

 For my last left hand page I decided to use some reference. I'm finally learning that always drawing from life is really the key.

For my last left hand page I decided to use some reference. I'm finally learning that always drawing from life is really the key.

Am I Too Old For Art School? by J. Logan Carey

When I was studying for my Anthropology degree, because I was totally convinced I could easily find a job in a museum or something (HA!), I decided that I wanted to take drawing classes for my electives. Electives were supposed to be those things that you were also interested in, but might be outside your chosen field of study.

Unfortunately for me, at Michigan State University, unless you were an Art major you couldn't take even the most basic of art classes. All I was able to get into was a single, solitary History of Art class.

I remember it pretty vividly actually. We learned about different styles of art, painters, and artistic movements. We learned how some pieces might be interpreted, what symbolism might be peering from the edges. It was enticing, but it was lip service. Here's all these wonder forms of art that exist, but we just observed and commented. That was all. I couldn't touch any of it, couldn't get my hands on it.

I wanted to get my hands dirty. I wanted to learn the skills that art students were learning so I could take my doodling to the next level. But I couldn't, so I studied maps and meteorology instead. Never ended up getting job in any of those fields. Sadly, I also never became Indiana Jones either. You lied to me, Steven Spielberg!

Fast forward a bunch of years to now. I'm a bit more settled down now, as things go. I've got a full-time job and a full-time relationship, two maddeningly lovable cats and a home that feels like a sanctuary. I've gotten very serious about studying and learning art over the past year or so. I've always loved to draw, but I never had the fire under me I feel like I do now to do it. But I'm also, sort of middle-aged I guess. YUCK, I hate that phrase. I'm 38. Too old to be young, too young to be old. Right? RIGHT?! 

There are lots of great places to learn art online. I just wrote a post about them called Best Places to Learn Art Online. Most of them are very much affordable alternatives to traditional art school, especially when compared to traditional art school. And I am taking courses through several of them, but sometimes I have to admit that I kind of crave that traditional college course structure when it comes to learning. I need the proverbial whip behind me, I need some deadlines and clear path. Now, this really can't be an expectation throughout my art career, but right now it felt like something I needed so I got an idea.

Essentially what I did boils down to this: I searched online for publicly posted syllabi of traditional art classes.

After finding and reading through many different options, I chose one program in particular that provided a detailed syllabus for Drawing I, Drawing II, and Drawing III level courses. The syllabus broke down the reading list, assignments, and in-class projects in great detail so I could see what the professor wanted the students to read, study, and draw for each and every week throughout the semester.

I had a complete guide for what reading material to acquire and the order in which to study it for the type of art classes I was never able to attend in college. It would be just like taking a traditional college art course...

...with three HUGE differences:

One, this would be a self-guided course of study, which is perfect for me being able to fit it in around my schedule that is a lot busier than it was when I was in college.

Two, that I was not bound to the racket of purchasing the newest edition of college textbooks.

And Three, NO TUITION.

Here's how the book pricing went:

  • Book 1: Current edition price: $116, mine was $4 on eBay
  • Book 2: Current edition price: $90, mine was $7 on eBay
  • Book 3: Current edition price: $41, mine was $4 on eBay
  • Book 4: Current edition price: $40, mine was $7 on eBay
 You couldn't even buy the eBook versions of these textbooks for these kinds of prices.

You couldn't even buy the eBook versions of these textbooks for these kinds of prices.

So my first foray into the world of a traditional art class cost me $22.

The next two courses, Drawing II and III will be cheaper because they use some of the same textbooks I bought for Drawing I.

Now I know some of you are saying: "but what about the group interaction wahhhhhh."
I think anything skill or knowledge in life that you want to learn boils down to this simple truth: YOU are the one who has to do the work.

You could be in a room of the most talented artists ever to pick up a pencil or paintbrush, and it would improve your artistic ability absolutely ZERO because we don't learn through osmosis, we learn through doing and then doing again.

Again and again and again and again and again. That's it. There's no ultimate secret. No mastermind program is going to show you an amazing shortcut to mastery or even competency. It will always come down to you and the level of work and effort and study you are willing to put into your thing.

And who says group collaboration has to take place in a classroom? Have you heard of the internet? If you want to find a group of people in real life, then check sites like Reddit or ask your creative friends if they're interested in a meetup to compare and critique your work. That type of outside-the-classroom thinking is what it's all about in the long run.

A college or university does not control your ability to observe and learn and become skillful in anything, they just get you to pay them to tell you that they do. Art schools seem to be particularly unscrupulous when it comes to this. So do some research and then develop your own learning plan to guide you on your way.

A Trip To The Zoo by J. Logan Carey

Last weekend my better half Jacque and I went to the Chattanooga Zoo for the afternoon. I brought my iPad with me to do some creature sketches. They had many fuzzy and delightful wild animals.

 Suck it in, dude. Geez.

Suck it in, dude. Geez.

 Sand Cat. Would pet.

Sand Cat. Would pet.

 Komodo Dragon.

Komodo Dragon.

 Meerkat.

Meerkat.

 Snow Leopard. So fuzzy.

Snow Leopard. So fuzzy.

 Are you getting my good side, sir?

Are you getting my good side, sir?

 Done in Procreate. 

Done in Procreate. 

Doing some sketching at the zoo was really fun. I highly recommend you guys go to your local zoo and sketch some wildlife in real life. I also name all of the animals in my head. So do that too.