I Love My New Drawing Book – Observation, Awareness, Technique, Patience, And Endurance Training

I was hunting around on my Nook looking for a drawing instruction book when I came across the little e-tome below. The drawing of the cats on the cover just blew me away!

I couldn’t imagine being able to draw a cat like that, so I’ll see what I can do, starting with my new running shoes.

I downloaded the book for a few bucks, started reading, and then thought that I would try my hand at drawing my new running shoes following the instructions in my Nook Book. I really like my new Chez Ollie running shoes, which I purchased at Fleet Feet in Carrboro). Here they are in a photo I took with my pda (what is the world coming too?).

I finally found some running shoes that I REALLY like!

So I tried my hand at drawing these shoes from a slightly different perspective as I was having my early morning cup of tea sitting in bed at the time. I started by drawing a blind contour plot, which means that you look at the subject, but not at the drawing as you draw.

Blind contour drawing of my new running shoes.

Then I drew another contour plot, not blind, to get the general shape and proportions of the subject, and then I filled in selected details to yield my first attempt at drawing my running shoes.  As a novice artist I was pretty happy with the result as it only took me about 30 minutes and my little sketch actually resembled my shoes (laugh if you like!).

I’m no artist, but my new drawing book helped a lot. Let’s see how I am doing in a few months.

This shows what you can achieve with a little instruction from an expert, but you have to explore, listen, and do the work, I mean the play. It appears to be a matter of awareness, technique and patience, just like endurance training. With respect to endurance sports, patience is your problem, though there are specialists who offer to help with your motivation! When it comes to technique, however, there is an army of highly trained people out there to assist you. They offer dozens of ways to improve your biomechanics and body awareness through massage therapy*, Feldenkrais*, Alexander Technique, Gyrotonic*, Continuum*, Yoga*, Pose Technique, Tai Chi, Rosen Method, Acupuncture* and many many others (*indicates that the author has used or is using these approaches with some success).

If you are an enthusiastic athlete it certainly can help to engage in activities that improve flexibility, relaxation, mental focus and balance. But where should you start? Most people have a limited budget and limited time, so difficult choices have to be made. I recommend that you explore them one at a time, and be specific about your needs. The real goal is to prevent injuries, not to fix them. It is remarkable how massage can reveal areas of your body that are stressed, whilst you are consciously unaware of them. Once you know that they are there you can fix them with rollers, and so forth. I have found Feldenkrais to be the most effective approach, and I am now exploring Continuum. I very strongly recommend that you find issues before they become problems if you can, having undergone several knee surgeries for running-induced injuries that were completely avoidable. A good coach can also help, but I’ll address that another day.

And what has all this to do with drawing? Everything, of course! I am drawing to improve my observational skills, which will flow over into my training and my personal life as I become increasingly aware of events around me. That’s my plan, anyway! Come to think of it, I was having a Feldenkrais session with Karen and I observed with my nose that her house smelled great, and I thought food. Triathletes think ‘food’ most of the time! And Karen kindly gave me samples of her latest creation, which is based on pork and eggs and other things. Here they are:

Karen’s sausage and egg snacks were yummy. I ate them all after my ride today. Thanks Karen, you’re not just a great Feldenkrais instructor!

Damn, that was good!




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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.