Sketchbook Playlist: A Quick Drawing Exercise to Overcome a Creative Block | Esther Nariyoshi | Skillshare

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Sketchbook Playlist: A Quick Drawing Exercise to Overcome a Creative Block

teacher avatar Esther Nariyoshi, Published Illustrator based in the US

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Class Introduction


    • 2.

      Playing with Shapes


    • 3.

      Ideas for Swatches


    • 4.

      Adding Final Details


    • 5.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Get better at drawing with fun sketchbook exercises with the Sketchbook Playlist series

Creative energy ebbs and flows, if the creative expression is a regular part of your life, it is highly likely that you know a thing or two about the dreaded creative block. In this class, Esther tackles the issue head-on, and offers hands-on tips on how to navigate a creative block.

Esther Nariyoshi is an experienced Skillshare Top Teacher with over 30k students and 1 million minutes watched. Her classes are known to be approachable and easy to follow.

What can you expect from this class?

  • The wisdom of "doing things wrong" (aka how to overcome analysis paralysis)
  • Paint-with-me style step-by-step instruction of a quick drawing exercise
  • Layering techniques using different mediums
  • And some very relaxed time making art, of course!

Connect with Esther:  Shop Esther's Handcrafted Procreate Brushes | Portfolio | Instagram 

Meet Your Teacher

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Esther Nariyoshi

Published Illustrator based in the US

Top Teacher
Level: All Levels

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1. Class Introduction: I started out this year strong. I painted this, this, and this. It just feels like the creativity is going to last for ever and ever. But just a month later, this happened. It's like ideas and motivations just vanished from my life. Hi. My name is Esther Nariyoshi. I am a full-time illustrator based in the US. This class is part of my sketchbook playlist series. In this class, we're going to explore ways to navigate a creative block by doing something wrong. More specifically, we're going to use all the wrong colors from the get-go so that the pressure of the perfectionism is instantly off from the very beginning. I will explain more as we go through the lessons. We all get stuck creatively for different reasons. For me, oftentimes, I sense this internal pressure of figuring out everything even before I get started and this can feel really heavy. In this class, we're going to bypass that analysis paralysis by starting something wrong from the get-go. I hope you will join me in this creative workout. Who knows, maybe by the end, you will find your creative mojo again. I'll see you in class. 2. Playing with Shapes: Tomatoes are mostly red, but I think the world needs more blue tomatoes, at least on your sketchbooks. Starting with the untraditional color, is so helpful because that helps me suspend my internal judgment for a minute so that I can trick my brain long enough to create space for experimentation. If your thing is something else, you can apply the same principle in your process. The goal is to get going. Do whatever that helps you to get your foot off of that brake pedal. Think exploration more than destination is really helpful when you are feeling stuck. The true organic growth needs a lot of patience and grace. Let's get into it. In terms of art supplies, if you have taken any of my sketchbook playlist series before, you know that I am a big advocate on using whatever art supplies you already have at home. This is helpful to sustain your art practice without feeling the pressure of having to have the right tools. Well, of course, that being said, I am a professional illustrator, so I do have a few extra medium here just to make the class watching experience a little richer. I'm going to use a couple gouache colors for the base layer. I've also had some colored pencils and a couple of crayons, pencil for sketching, and a dark marker, and a ink brush. Of course, if you choose to use watercolor or gouache, you may also want to have a brush. This one that I have is size 10. With that being said, let's get started. The first step I'm going to do is to just lay down literally some blobs. I'm now thinking particular vegetables or fruits at this moment. They could turn into anything really. But if you already have something in mind, feel free to draw the general shape of it. This is just a regular page of my sketchbook. It's not made for watercolor, but it can take some water, so it's just perfect because I only have one layer planned that is going to be wet. You can vary the size a bit and maybe draw some slight variation of the shape as well. If you think about the shape of the fruits, they're generally circle-ish if you look at them from one angle. Sometimes they can have odd shapes. Really give yourself freedom to experiment. Since I know none of the fruits or veggies I'm going to draw has this color, so I'm not judging myself when I lay down these shapes. There's so much freedom in not judging yourself early on. Of course, you need to learn to give yourself feedback. But what I've found is that oftentimes, when the feedback is given too early and often comes in a really harsh form for me, that discourage me to keep going. That's why sometimes I find it so helpful to start with obviously wrong color. I'm going to rinse my brush completely and use the other color that I had. This one is pale lavender. I'm just going to squeeze a tiny bit. Another thing that I found super helpful in not getting yourself stuck in the creative process is to not think about what you're going to do about the piece. I know that if I think about, this is going to be a great Instagram post or like for real, or a YouTube tutorial, I know I'm going to overthink. Then that's when the perfectionism will kick in and will force myself to do everything perfectly which I cannot. It takes the fun out of it. Try not to think about what you're going to do about it. What I'm going to do right now is to just fill in the gaps, maximize the use of my page. Obviously, I'm drawing fruits and vegetables. You can also choose a different subject, for example, we can draw some random geometric shapes. That could be more fun as well. Well, speaking of that, maybe I'll draw a triangle here. It's not going to be a fruit. That is okay. I think that is going to be my first layer. What I'm going to do is just to wait until it dries, of course, off-screen. Then we'll come back in a minute to add our second layer to give lives to our fruits and veggies. See you in a bit. 3. Ideas for Swatches: Since I still have a little bit of color in my palette and I know this is acrylic wash, which means that once they are dry, you will not be able to reactivate them. I'm going to make most use of these beautiful paints. I'm just going to use up whatever I have left on my palette. Later before I start drawing on my blobs, I can experiment and see how different mediums react to one another. This is just a great way to not waste your art supplies. I'm pretty much done with the aqua color. Now I'm going to rinse my brush and use up the lavender. I won't be demonstrating this in this class, but if you have time, you can also experiment changing the order of the medium. Sometimes if a+b does not equal b+a in art world. Really give yourself the freedom to play pretty much. Now I'm pretty much through with my colors. Now, I just have to stay put and wait until they're dry. I'll see you in a bit. I don't really have any motifs in mind. What I'm going to do is just draw on top of my swatches using another medium. Over here, I want to layer on top of this swatch as well as Stowe white paper to see if I have any visible difference. There is some, but not super obvious. That's what I learned. I'm going to switch to a different color. This one is like warmer maroon color. It looks like the coverage is still pretty full. Then there's not a whole lot of difference. I'm drawing on paper as well as drawing on this light lavender. I'm going to do the same thing here. You might not see this super clearly on camera, but when I draw on this pale aqua color, I do see a difference between the layer over the white paper and the aqua color. It's still pretty on the subtle side of things, but it's something that you can take notes off. Next, I'm going to use my crayon. Now, I want to work on the other color as well. This one is bright orange. Feel free to add a third layer if you really like layered effect. The next thing I'm going to test is to use my brush, ink pen. Then just draw over everything to see the opacity. Looks like this brush pen can pretty much cover anything that is underneath. Similarly, this color combination as well. These are all valuable insights that you can use when you draw your vegetables or paint. I have here my marker as well. This color is like a warm dark gray, but on camera, it's pretty much just black. Yeah, it's pretty heavy coverage as well. These are good information to bear in mind when you start painting on top of our blobs, which we will do in the next lesson. 4. Adding Final Details: Now most of our blobs are dry. I'm going to start painting my second layer. The first medium that I chose is my brush pen. What we've tested in the previous lesson, this one has pretty good coverage. What I'm going to do is to think of a vegetable or a fruit and then just start drawing. I think I'm going to start with this little blob. Imagine if this is a tomato. I'm going to draw some leaves on top. If you're not super sure how things are going to go, feel free to use the blank part of your sketchbook to test it out. I have a rough idea of how I want to draw these leaves. By the way, feel free to pull out a reference image if that helps you to structure your painting. But I'm just going to freehand over here without a reference image. Imagine this is like a little stem and then the leaves will come out of here. The tomato leaves, especially the ones that attached to the tomato, is pretty long. I'm just lightly, slowly letting go the pressure when I draw. This one is going to be tiny behind. I'm just going to leave it this way. Obviously, this is blue and you don't really think of tomato. But if you can photoshop the color in your mind, this looks like a tomato. Next, if we look at this little skinny guy, it's asking to be a chili pepper, so I'm just going to draw a little bit of cap. I'm thinking of it as a person, so this feels like a cap. I have no idea what's the correct term for it. Then you can draw a little stem. You can even draw some shadow if you imagine a light source coming this way. A little of crosshatching. Feel free to introduce another color or medium if you would like. I'm going to just layer on a second color on top of the little cap here so that it differentiates from the shadow over here. Right here is our little chili pepper. I'm going to move on to the next one. Actually, I wonder if I add a little bit of crayon, what's going to happen? Well, to be honest, I'm not super into this color combination, but I'm glad I tried it out and I figured it out. The crayon that I used is also water-soluble, this brand, so I'm going to add a bit of water to spread the crayon pigments around a little bit. I might not like the result, or maybe I will like it. I have no idea. But having no idea is part of the fun. That means that you are letting yourself to fail, to experiment, and to play. That is the goal of this class. I'm liking how this top layer crayon is blending all the different parts together and that makes the shadow a little bit more natural. I think I'm going to leave it this way. Maybe I will make the cap a bit larger. This one right here is a little bit long, and it can be a potato, so I'm just going to grab a colored pencil and add a little bit of here and there to make it a potato. Nothing fancy. I'm going to move on to this shape right here. Let me grab my supply a little bit closer. Just looking at the shape here, it could be an egg, which can be a little boring. But I'm going to make it a strawberry. I will use my marker to add the seeds. I'm not thinking too realistic or precise. I'm just going to add little random marks throughout the body of the fruit and then I will leave a little space at the bottom for the leaves of the strawberries. This is a good starting point. I'm going to use red for the leaf, which is the opposite of green. Because why not? I'm just going to draw over this shape as well. That is okay. It may not be super obvious. This is a bright orange. It might not make a huge difference if I add another one. But I like the subtle difference between the two colors. I'm going to call it a day. This is my strawberry, and I will move on to the next one. Let's look at the shape over here. It's pretty long and honestly, because it has a pointy side on one side, I'm going to make this a carrot. I'm going to do the divots first using a dark aqua color, like little wrinkles of the carrots. Even though the colors are completely wrong, but you can tell it's starting to look like a carrot. I'm going to add some very simple leaves, similar to the strawberries. This class is meant to be super quick and just to give you an idea for you to practice, so the demos are super simplistic. This is not my normal drawing style. If it's a client work, I might spend hours just on one part of the vegetable but today we're going to play. Simple is okay. Here we go. Now we have our little carrot. Next one, we're going to move on to this dot. While there's nothing wrong with repetition, but just for the sake of the class content, I'm going to turn this thing into a blueberry. I'm going to add a little, what's that leaves on top of the blueberry, like a little texture? It's like a belly button. I'm going to do that. I will draw the outline first and then color it in. I like how opaque this brush pen is. It's so dependable and has very nice coverage. I'm not coloring every single pixel, every single inch on this shape. I'm leaving a little bit of space just to preserve a bit of texture. You get the gist. I'm just going to move on to different things and start drawing. Obviously, this is not a fruit or vegetable, but I like how the two colors interact. Maybe the next time when I start a new painting, I might sample some color from here. That's pretty much what I have for you today and I will see you in the next lesson. 5. Final Thoughts: Thank you for taking my class. I hope you find this exercise helpful. If you like my teaching style, don't forget to give me a follow. I have almost 30 classes for you to choose from. I hope I will see you soon.