Drawing Practice: A 4-Day Challenge for the Anxious Creative | LZ Cathcart | Skillshare

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Drawing Practice: A 4-Day Challenge for the Anxious Creative

teacher avatar LZ Cathcart, Surface Pattern Designer + Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Getting Started

    • 3. Inspiration

    • 4. Materials and Courage

    • 5. Day 1: Frogs

    • 6. Day 2: Snakes

    • 7. Day 3: Turtles

    • 8. Day 4: Lizards

    • 9. Thank You

    • 10. Bonus

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About This Class

Do you love being creative as well as enjoy drawing, but find that it brings you more anxiety than joy? You might even start off strong one day, but soon become frazzled and upset that your creative process is just not working out the way you'd like it too. 

You also might:

  • find yourself constantly staring at your sketchbook and have no idea how to get started
  • worry about "ruining" your expensive art paper
  • be scared of drawing certain subject matters
  • struggle with having time to be creative
  • or have tried longer challenges in the past and never finished them.

Then, my friend, this class is for YOU!

I've been there too, and I completely understand your frustration. You WANT to draw and start a daily drawing habit, but there are just too many factors that seem to be holding you back.

In this class I will be showing you:

  • easy ways to start a daily drawing practice (with a 4-day mini-challenge!)
  • how to get past your fears of drawing a "scary" subject matter
  • where to find inspiration
  • short exercises that will build your confidence when you're drawing
  • and also find positive aspects in all of your drawings.

I truly believe that all we need sometimes is a little nudge in the right direction along with a roomful of positive vibes.

You got this! Join me in this class for a start in the right direction :) 


Click here to get all of the reference photos and bonuses!

Meet Your Teacher

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LZ Cathcart

Surface Pattern Designer + Illustrator


Hi! I'm LZ Cathcart, a surface pattern designer, illustrator, and professional daydreamer.

I'm a little shy and awkward at first, but I soon warm up when I start talking about my favorite subjects. You know, like art projects, crafts, and decor!

I absolutely love creating illustrations and patterns for gifts, home decor, fabric, and wallpaper, and on a daily basis (since I can remember) you can find me creating and DIY'ing just about anything I can think of. I'm definitely no stranger to finding a way to "make it work" even when it seems impossible!

You’ll most likely see my work on items like vintage-inspired signs, sturdy coffee mugs and cards with eclectic quotes, curtains and bedding that bring the vibrant outdoors inside, and whimsical nursery decor to ma... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm LZ cap cart and I'm a surface pattern designer, illustrator, and professional day dreamer. I'm originally from Indiana, but I currently reside in North Carolina with my family. And today I'm gonna talk to you about your fears and talk to you about drawing in particular, and how those fears kinda come in play. Sometimes those fears come from the actual objects you are drawing. Other times they may come from a mental block you've put on yourself. For instance, maybe you have a fear of runing, quote unquote, you're good paper. But don't worry, I have been here two. So in this class, we're going to take it slow with assessable materials to work with, you know, something that you have. Just run the house, nothing you have to buy. Just simple and easy steps that'll allow you to start drawing and painting, right? And how ban on a regular basis and help eliminate those restrictions you've given yourself. So in this four-day mini challenge, I'm going to walk you through the three steps that I use to work through line drawing figures and how you can also easily implement them with yours as well. Hope you'll join me for this first lesson coming up. 2. Getting Started: Hello and welcome. I'm really excited about teaching this class and sharing my tips and how to work through your fears when it comes to drawing. But let's go over a few things first, I broke up these lessons into four days so they wouldn't be overwhelming and will allow you to concentrate on one subject matter at a time. During this little mini challenge, I'm going to be working through one of my own fears so you can see how to replicate it in your own life to. So with that being said, I recently was doing some research on future trends. And I realized that one of the suggested trends, dum, dum, dum, scares me. You know what that subject matter is? Reptiles. They wouldn't say are like deathly afraid of reptiles. Okay. Who my junkie. I am originally terrified. Please do not make me being near them or see them. It doesn't matter if they're poisonous or not, may just freak me out so much. And I realized that this is something that I need to get past. I need to learn how to draw not only snakes and lizards and other creepy crawlers that kinda freaked me out. But I need to be able to do that with a variety of things. I need to be able to draw on my good paper and let it be okay if i ruined a page. As an artist, as a designer, however you characterize your talents, it's important to realize that you can do anything you put your mind to. You are in charge of your life. So in this class, what I wanna do is walk you through four days, just little challenge to go through and show you how I worked through some of those fears. In fact, I wasn't expecting to still have so many struggles with certain areas. It's not always easy. It doesn't come to me that easily all the time. Sometimes it doesn't work out and you have to take a step back and try again. I'm going to show you how you can take that deep breath and go. It's okay to make mistakes on hue when that's okay. 3. Inspiration: Hello and welcome to the inspiration section of this class. So we're going to be discussing where to find your inspiration and how to kind of have a calm setting where you can do your drawings. We're not distracted. I know that can be a little hard to find sometimes, but maybe early in the morning or late at night when your kids are significant other goes to bed or I've even sometimes gone to the library or Starbucks. Honestly, it really just depends on here whatever you find to be peaceful with the least amount of distractions. Now with that being said, I'd like to encourage you open up your phone right now to your photo albums and Pali go back a year or so, don't forget anything to recent. I think you'll be amazed at how much you probably already have in your photo album that you could be inspired with right now. If you don't one, I'd be very surprised. But to go ahead and start doing that now, look around your environment or their flowers, animals, or you into drawing life-like statues or vases, candles, tools, whatever it is, start taking one or two pictures of it now. That way in the future when you're filling stuck, you could just scroll back and look through all your gorgeous pictures and get inspired. Once again, I can't tell you how many times that saved me. Now shoe and c, we're going through a few frogs, turtles and lizards. And these are the photos I'm and include in the project section at the end. So you can also use these two to do your own sketches. If you bike, you don't have to, but just in case you feel inspired to do this little set as well. And you're more than welcome to use them to sketch and practice and use them for your own daily inspiration and drawing. Cabot. See you on day one. 4. Materials and Courage: Are you ready to get started? Let's talk materials. So what do you need? I would highly suggest using paper you don't care about. For instance, my daughter brings in paper all the time from school and I just turn it over and use the blank side. You can also use junk mail, old envelopes, or even printer paper. What I like to do with the printer paper is folded in half and then again and then cut it up into little bitty squares. Especially if the subject matter that I'm gonna be doing is a little intimidating. So it's sometimes just nice to be able to work on a smaller scale. Now when it comes to what you use to do your drawings, I want you to pick materials that you already have. Pencils, markers, pastels, whenever you have on hand. I just want you to make sure you're using something that doesn't feel too sacred. And the reason I say that is that sometimes when we use a material like me with my good paper, quote unquote, or watercolors that I really like. Sometimes there's too much pressure to make something amazing. And when you don't, you're really hard on yourself. And you don't need that kind of pressure, especially when you're starting out. The most important thing at this stage is just making those first marks. Just touching the paper with your pencil, your marker, whatever you're using. Just getting started and not being afraid. And knowing that if you don't make something amazing, it's okay to throw it out and try again. And last but not least, besides having a little courage, I want you to have fun with this project. This isn't about making a final piece of artwork. You're going to show the world. It's all about starting. Just knowing where to start, how to start when the star, which is now. But just have fun, do what's natural. And I'll see you in the next lesson. 5. Day 1: Frogs: Welcome to day one. We're going to start off with sketching. And for this first prompt, we're going to be drawing from hogs. So what I want you to do is go ahead and grab your paper, printer, paper, wallpaper, John paper, whatever you feel most comfortable with, and a pencil of your choice. We're going to do a couple of different sketches. And I want you to aim for doing at least five minutes. You don't have to put a timer on if you don't want to, but if that makes you feel better, I totally understand. And go ahead and grab your cell phone and five minutes. Just remember that the point of this exercise is to get used to your subject matter. So whether you are going along with Maine doing frogs and reptiles for this challenge or you're doing your own thing. Just have fun. Sketch it out. Don't make any solid lines. Just learn the shape of your object so you can have some fun with it later on when we're coloring in finalizing, there's gonna be a couple of different versions. Says you can see if the frog that I'm going to be doing, and none of them have to be perfect. In fact, I'm sure you can see that they are not perfect by any means. As probably one of the first times I've ever drawn a frog. Can you believe that? So, same with You. Just have fun, enjoy. Alright, I'm all done sketching, as you can see, I use two different pictures for inspiration. And out of the four items that I, or for frogs that I sketched, I picked one of each of the photos. Now, we're gonna do some fun stuff with coloring. I'm going to use markers and watercolor pencils just because I don't use them very often to be completely honest. I have a variety in this little mason jar that I like to keep all my colors then. But I want you to use colors that you have around the house that don't feel too precious. So like I said in the materials lessons, pick something right now. That feels easy. Something child by playful, something once again, they can have fun with. And it's not going to feel like, oh my goodness, I just ruined this paper. So what you can do is you can either color or directly on your sketches like I'm doing. Or you can even trace on another piece of printer papers and it's so thin, you could trace right over it. And you could make all your marks and your colors and your doodles on a different one. So you have both of them. Whatever feels more comfortable. Now for this one, for this coloring section, I'm, I'd like to challenge you to use ten minutes now. Once again, you don't have to schedule it out. But I'd like you to spend just a little bit more time creating colors that you wouldn't normally use. Different combinations. Maybe some patterns, just things that don't feel necessarily like your style. And you know, why don't we just enjoying the process and who knows, maybe you'll even find something that you've never tried before. And realize how amazing our combination is. When you finish coloring your drawings, wants you to take a step back and value one positive thing that you like about it that you can use in your final piece that we're going to be doing right now. Now that we're all loosened up and we have some sketch Shane under our belts, we have some coloring and inspiration. Why don't you go ahead and get out some of what I call good paper. It can be watercolor or mixed media. Many brand, we've just whatever flow turbo. I went ahead and sketch out one of my frogs on my quote unquote good paper. And I like to use watercolor. So that's what you'd see me doing right now. With that being said, I'm gonna give you a little spoiler alert. My frog did not turn out twice. Yikes. So this little buddy, I to this day, I'm still a little confused. Why exactly, but the paint didn't not work the way I thought it was going to. I really thought that green and yellow, what's going to be perfect. But it didn't, it didn't disperse across the paper like I wanted to see it. And I think that's because I used a mixed media paper which is smoother and I wanted more texture. So after this one drive because I always let my painting strike just to make sure and it didn't look right. So I thought, well, okay, I drew it in. I'm just gonna try it again. So here I am trying again without sketching or decided to afer hand and see if maybe that was the problem. I was being too limiting with my sketch. And I need to be a little bit freer. And once again, it did not work out. I was pretty bombed. And I wanted to show you that. This was not easy for me to put it in this video. I really just wanted to show you the pretty picture. But that's not the point of this class, is everything doesn't work out that first-time. Nor Second. Took me three times to finally get the frog that I wanted to see. How to change the kind of paper that I used. And I had to take all my goodness, I want to say I took a three for our break because I was so frustrated. I thought, are you kidding me? I've been drawing this, I should know how to my sketches turn out okay, they weren't that bad. And here I am saying, no, I'm going to do this, I'm going to make it work. I just need to be kind impatient with myself and just try something different. So that's what I want to remind you, is that sometimes it might take one to 315, maybe even 20 times. And that's okay. As long as you continue to try. That's all you can do. Yes. Just in case you were wondering the type of paper I switched to to get this more textured look is the Windsor and Newton watercolour cold press, 140 pound paper. I want to say that I was able to get this on Amazon. And Hs had this courageous, absolutely gorgeous look to it in the texture. You're looking for a new kind of watercolor paper. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for texture as well. We're loved it. And I'm so happy that I pushed forward and I made sure that I was able to get this done and I didn't quit because the end result was absolutely amazing now so happy and so proud of myself for pushing from Harvard it pushing through. And I hope you do too, if you have any kind of problems with your drawing, your watercolour, paint, whatever your end finalized artwork is. I hope you push through it too because you're worth it. And I know you after game deaths, it's gonna be amazing. 6. Day 2: Snakes: Hi, for day two, we're gonna be doing snakes. As you know from the inspiration lesson, I want to pet smart to get pictures of a snake. I, just so I had some kind of visual that wasn't too scary for me to work with why I was doing my sketches. While a Pet Smart did have a wide variety of snakes to look at, there was only one that was extremely active when I was there. And it's a ball python, which actually the way was moving and looking around in the tank, I was kind of surprise. How friendly is that a word for a snake? It was acting. So it was actually a really awesome experience for me to be able to see a snake. The kinda had this like happy dog kind of feel to it. If it just looked like, hey, what's going on? Oh, you wanna take a picture of me? Okay, I'm gonna move over here. Oh, can you see this side of my face? Okay, here I am. So it was actually really good to see that. Anyway, he's with that being said, I'm just sketching playful, friendly snakes. And the best way that I possibly can think of. Now for this next step we're going to be covering in our sketches or you can trace them like I showed you in day one, and color them in with markers, crayons, whatever floats your boat. I'm really digging all four of my sketches for my snake. So I think I'm going to color all of them and use a wide variety of colors just to see what I like. So when I do my final piece, I have a good idea if I wanna go bold with pink, sir, reds, or kinda stick with green and brown. More of a typical shade, I guess you'd call it firstName. What I really like about this step is that I don't plan ahead, like I might decide, okay, I'm going to use these three colors or something of that nature. But often that I really just kinda go with my gut, I make an effort to really go outside the box, try different patterns, dots, stripes, clerk accommodations, you name it. I'm giving it my all just so I can find something different and and make it something unique. I'm not sure why, but I love to name my little game rules that I design and draw. In fact, I did a 30-day challenge of birds on my Instagram page. And I mean, almost every single one of them, especially towards the end, I started getting a little bit more creative. But there's just something about naming your drawings. Then we're adding some kind of a quirky quote that gives it that personal or realistic feel to it. Plus makes it super easy, at least for me, when I go to scan it in, factorize it or add it to procreate or something of that nature to make it a digital version, makes it so nice to be able to have that extra name to associate with when I save it as a jpeg or whatever file format I'm gonna be using to say it's Sami the snake, instead of that brown and green snake or Peano, because at some point you're probably going to have more than one brown and green snake. Alright, are you ready? This is the final step. We're gonna be taking one positive thing, at least from what you found when you were drawing, sketching and coloring in your snag. And we're going to use that to apply to this final piece. Once again, I'm using my Winsor Newton cold press paper. And I've learned that I really enjoy using nailing. In fact, I love navy. The color was amazing to me. I'm going to go ahead and use a pink, slightly more greenish color pen grain to, to these snakes. Now, unlike the frog, labor not this ended up being a lot of fun and wasn't doing too much detail once again. And I wanted to be life-like it all. I wanted to have that same great texture like the frog. But I wanted to be more too windy, as you can see with the little swirls I have going on with this snake. And I wanted it to be something that little girls or boys will feel safe having on a card and our print a pattern. Nothing intimidating for anyone. At this step. I want you to be able to take as much time as you'd like to create. They can be along the lines of how we were doing in day one with five minutes for sketching, ten minutes for coloring. And then you can go on and say, okay, I'm only gonna do 15 minutes. Sometimes I find that very limiting. So feel free to do more than 15 minutes. I wouldn't spend hours at this point. I think sometimes you have the tendency of overdoing it or at least I do if I take too much time. So just kinda keep that in mind when you're doing this. Enjoy the process once again, but don't overwork it either. And with that last little tip, it is done. 7. Day 3: Turtles: Again, this is day three and we're gonna be doing turtles. So let's get started with some sketches. I found the cutest little turtle in my backyard. I took so many photos of it. It was in the rain and it was when we had just moved into our new house. And I want to say that I've had these pictures for a few years now and I've never used up. So it was pretty cool that I was able to go through my photo album on my phone, like I said before with inspiration and take all the pictures you can yanks. You just never know when you're going to need that perfect photo to sketch or paint from. And it's really interesting for me, at least to go back a year or two ago. Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about that. That would be a main SIM. This is just a side note in case you forgot. Fill free to sketch as many turtles more your subject matter that you're doing within approximately that five-minute range. You don't have to have that five minutes on your phone. But if you feel bad, you tend to do more details or more sketches than you think you need to do. Go ahead and put that on. You're ready. It's time to start coloring. I loved on my little turtles that I drew. So kinda like the snag. So I'm gonna go ahead and color in all of them. I'm just realizing now as I'm looking at these sketches that I definitely did more detail than I normally do. And you're probably thinking, hey, you told me to sketch details, no concrete lines. And here I went against exactly what I was preaching. While, as you can see, I must have been having a lot of fun. Because how did I catch that? But you know what, that's okay. Because it was all worth it because I really enjoyed using all of the colors that I have in front of me right now. And those extra lines really did help. And I think we should something about the turtle shell that made it so easy to put those patterns in and not even think, okay, I need a slowdown. It just goes to show the more you practice, the more you spend time working on your turtle, your subject matter, and where you're going to have fun with it. And you're not going to overthink and worry about if you're putting in the wrong lines. Last but not least, we're gonna work on Fred. Or at least that's the name I've given him. Fred kinda reminds me of a snapping turtle a little bit. And since a sketch didn't exactly read to me as being happy or playful, which is exactly what I'm trying to go for. Psi to give them some happy little colors, the orange and the yellow to kind of brightness shell and make him seem like he's actually pretty cool guide to hang around. It's time to finalize. We're going to go ahead and paint this little cute guy, maybe not necessarily Fred, one of his friends for sure. I'm also using the same Windsor and Newton paper. I decided, since I'm already used to twice session, go ahead and use it for today and tomorrow to kinda keep that same texture. Go on with all of those reptiles. Don't forget with this final piece. Feel free to take your time. Use 15 minutes, 20, maybe even 30 minutes to sketch out what you're trying to get across. If you're trying to make it more playful, maybe you want to actually have two turtles on the page. Whatever you decide just because ome, kind and patient with yourself. If it doesn't work out this first time, remember my frogs? It's okay. It's totally okay. Just start over again or take a break. You know, that's exactly what I'm going to suggest when my frogs, how that worked out. Just take a step back. Maybe not throw it away. Maybe you just need a new set of eyes, fresh eyes looking at it. And just like that, we're done with day three. 8. Day 4: Lizards: Welcome to Day for today we're gonna be doing lizards. You already know the drill, so I'm sure you already have your paper out and you've grabbed your favourite pencil. Whatever tool you like to use for this stage. I'm gonna go ahead and start my lizards. And I'm going to be working from a few different pictures today. While I took quite a few pictures of different types of lizards from Pet Smart or the green anoles that are around our house that we find in North Carolina. I ultimately decided that the grain anoles would be the best lizard to sketch just because of their smooth then skinny little bodies. They didn't have as many spikes. That might be a little challenging to draw. Like for instance, the bearded dragon. I thought they were very interesting looking and I loved taking pictures of them. But I just just didn't think it would be a good start for drawing or sketching. However, in the near future, I would love to practice drawing the bearded dragons and just kinda understanding more of their not quite a diamond shape, kind of a triangle shape when I guess you could say. Don't take a lot of practice, but I could definitely see myself practicing and trying in the future. Okay, for this round, I only had time to draw three, but that's okay. After yesterday's turtle and all the patterns and colors that I was using a kind of feeling ambitious. And I'd like to try out some unique patterns. And I'm definitely feeling that grain on pink kinda saying, Do you remember when that was popular? I want to say it was early two thousands or so. I remember wearing a lot of lime green and like that fluorescent pink or hot pink? Heck, maybe has just may remember wearing a lot of pink and green. But anyways, I am so proud that you've gotten today for aren't you proud of yourself? You should be. This is amazing. You have worked through almost four days. We're not quite done almost there, right? But you've worked through a challenge that you're having in your life and you've gotten past it. You've gotten into a habit of sketching, coloring, and then finalizing in a material medium that you prefer to use that is simply amazing and you deserve a hoot pat on the back. And I'm so proud of you. Go ahead. Go get yourself an ice cream when we're done. Or sometimes it's nice to have like a little reward like, okay, if I finish this challenge, I can go get that new oil pastels I've been I in for the last week, which by the way, that's totally me. Alright guys, we just finished coloring. And this is the last step of the last day of his class. Woo-woo. So I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna do, like I said before, the lizard. I'm keeping it pretty simple. As much as I'd love to add a little bit of pain color maroon or some other bright color to this particular lizard. Think I've decided to hold off and just see how it looks after it's good and dry. And then tomorrow when I continue my habit, I might try then I haven't decided. We'll see. But what about you guys? Did you find one positive thing about your colors that you could use in the spinal drawing. I bet you, I bet you found a ton. And don't forget with this final painting, feel free to spend a little bit more time and you deal with your sketches or with your colors. It's time to just relax yourself. Have a little bit of courage and enjoy the process. You got this. Just like that. We are now finishing up the spinal little marks and we're going to be done in that. Awesome. I'm so proud of you. I keep saying that, but I am I am so proud of you for getting this far. 9. Thank You: I just want to end with saying thank you so much for attending my class. And I look forward to creating more classes and seeing you there. Have a great week. 10. Bonus: I just have one more thing I promised besides providing you with all of the pictures that I used for the reptiles for this class, I'm going to also be adding a couple flowers from my own flower garden for you to practice on. Plus, I'm going to add 32 days worth of drawing prompt so you can keep this new skill that you've learned to keep going and be successful and dip, you know, develop a daily drawing habit. So go ahead to the projects and resources area at this class and get bad download. Have fun.