Finding Shapes in Your Neighbourhood

[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Church.jpg’ attachment=’5082′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
As a novice drawer, it’s been good for me to find simple creative practices for encouraging myself to draw. One fun and easy exercise that I’ve come up with (and one that encourages my photography too) is to collect shapes when I’m out and about and then draw them in my sketchbook or journal.

This week while on a mail run for Give a Girl a Journal, the window of this church caught my eye. It inspired me to pull out my camera for one block and see what shapes I could find.

One neighbourhood block. Five pictures. Lots of inspiration.
[/av_textblock]

[av_one_half first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Shape-Church-Window-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5068′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_one_half min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Sketch-Church-Window-brighter-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5073′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’10’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
One of the gifts of drawing is the way it inspires us to actively look at the world around us.  When I first noticed this window, I saw only the simple pie shapes. When I got closer, I noticed more detail. When I started drawing, I noticed more detail still!

As well as opening up our vision, drawing invites us to practice decision-making. Now that I had noticed all these levels of detail, what did I draw? Would I realistically render every bit of what I saw? Would I pick the simplest shape? Something in between?

Each of us will make different choices in different moments with different subjects. Drawing gives us the opportunity to exercise those muscles and in so doing discover something about our creative voice.
[/av_textblock]

[av_one_half first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Fence-Curls-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5074′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_one_half min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Fence-Drawing-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5075′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’10’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
One of the first things I realized when I started to explore drawing was that I had a really small visual vocabulary. In truth, it was still the vocabulary I had as a kid, which makes perfect sense because that was the last time I had drawn very much at all.

With reading and writing we are constantly expanding our language vocabulary, our facility to comprehend, create and recreate letters, words and sentences. We can do the same with our visual vocabulary. Getting out and collecting shapes is a fun and unintimidating way to expand your range, right on your own doorstep!
[/av_textblock]

[av_one_half first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Draw-Branches-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5069′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_one_half min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Branches-Drawn-brighter-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5072′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’10’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
This expansion of our visual vocabulary can come from looking at the world around us but it can also happen when we look at art. In many of the drawing books and classes I’ve encountered, artists have depicted trees and plants with lines that are dotted with little circles. The first time I saw this I thought to myself, “What plant actually look like that?” When I went out looking, apparently many of them! LOL!
[/av_textblock]

[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Dot-Branches.jpg’ attachment=’5071′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
It’s fun to discover what you can create by looking for the simple shapes in whatever is in your line of sight. Starting to see objects as combinations of circles and lines and squares and curves can suddenly make them seem possible to draw.

As you discover these simple shapes, experiment with different ways that you can create with them. These life-inspired motifs can become embellishments for your art journal, simple symbols for your doodling or the beginnings of interesting backgrounds and textures!
[/av_textblock]

[av_one_half first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Arrow-Down-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5080′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_one_half min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Drawn-Arrows-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5081′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’10’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
You can start with a basic representation of what you see and then riff on that shape. Let yourself expand the possibilities and your range with a little bit of playing. You never know what you’ll discover! (As a Sagittarius, I’m surprised I haven’t played with arrows more!)
[/av_textblock]

[av_one_half first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Pavers-square-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5077′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_one_half min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”]
[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Pavers-Drawing-300×300.jpg’ attachment=’5078′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]
[/av_one_half]

[av_image src=’https://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/JRS-Colour-Pavers-.jpg’ attachment=’5079′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]

[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’10’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
And you don’t have to limit yourself to line. You can add colour to the mix too. Play with different colour stories – realistic, monochromatic, random. It’s just a little doodle in your sketchbook or journal. There’s no way to get it wrong!

Whether you find drawing as intimidating as I do or whether you’re looking for a fresh way to play, I hope that collecting shapes becomes a fun way to expand your visual vocabulary as a part of your creative practice.
[/av_textblock]

[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’How to Collect Shapes’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

[av_iconlist position=’left’ font_color=” custom_title=” custom_content=” color=” custom_bg=” custom_font=” custom_border=”]
[av_iconlist_item title=’Pick an Area’ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue836′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
Pick an area in which to look for shapes. It can be a block when you’re out for a walk or it can be a corner of your own backyard. It can be the top of your dresser or the inside of your purse. It can be the subway car or the waiting room.  Everywhere you look there are shapes to be found.
[/av_iconlist_item]
[av_iconlist_item title=’Gather & Draw’ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue836′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
If you have a sketchbook, a journal or a sheet of scrap paper (basically, anything to write on) you can go directly to it and with a pencil or a pen (or anything you like to write with) gather the shapes you see. If it’s easier, take some photos. Gather as many as you like and then transform them into simple shape drawings later.
[/av_iconlist_item]
[av_iconlist_item title=’That’s it!’ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue836′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
Notice what catches your eye. Notice what shapes your hand enjoys. Have fun, enjoy the process and trust that as you look for shapes and draw them, you are growing your visual vocabulary, practicing your mark-making and strengthening your creative voice.
[/av_iconlist_item]
[/av_iconlist]

Join the Studio

The studio icon small

If you’ve been looking for a place to fill your creative well, to discover your creative self, to stretch your creative wings, Jamie Ridler Studios is here for you.

When you sign up, you will get a 10% discount on all classes and access to abundant free resources such as Studio Forum recordings on topics such as Journaling, Creative Habits & Challenges! Plus you will receive a weekly email love letter and occasional announcements for courses and offerings.


Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply