Drawing on the Big Screen

Jennifer Lawrence drawing in the movie “Joy” (2015)

Whether it be a cameo appearance, or a major role, drawing can play an important part in the success of a motion picture. For years I’ve taken note on how drawing is used as a storytelling device in movies, and the many ways characters are shown drawing in everyday life. Here are highlights from my list of past indie and major films as well as some of this year’s Oscar contenders that feature drawing scenes. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. Continue reading Drawing on the Big Screen

How a Road Trip Can Ignite Your Desire to Draw

A drawing road trip is great for trying new tools and exploring techniques

Several decades ago, as an avid surfer, nothing excited me more than packing my surfboards and heading up the coast to discover new places to ride waves. Recently, I decided to conjure up my youthful fervor for exploration and set out on a sketching safari to the Pacific Northwest. What happened on the journey was totally unexpected; I rediscovered the thrill of drawing for pure enjoyment.

And along the way I came up with some essential tips that I’d like to share with you. Here’s what I learned about the art of sketching while on the road. Continue reading How a Road Trip Can Ignite Your Desire to Draw

Walking Into a Sketch


Every time we open our urban and field sketchbooks to draw, we’re faced with the same challenge—to swiftly transform flat 2D pages into believable 3D environments the viewer can walk into.

For the ranch buildings, shown above, I lightly sketched dominant angles (indicated with red) before drawing anything else. Dominant angles are the essential framework for sketching accurate 3D representations of buildings in a composition.

Notice the angle of the table in the foreground compared to the buildings. Getting these foundational angles correct was crucial in giving a place for the viewer’s eye to travel into the depths of the sketch. Continue reading Walking Into a Sketch

The Small Drawing Habit


In the opening scene of the classic comedy What About Bob, we see a perplexed Bob Wiley, played by Bill Murray, contemplating his fate of stepping outside the door of his apartment and onto the streets of New York. He quickly becomes overwhelmed by his fears of just about everything and everyone in the world.

As Bob finally meets with Dr. Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss, he sits in awe of the prominent psychiatrist’s suggestion to start with reasonable goals. “Don’t think of everything you have to do to get out of the building, Bob. Think about what you have to do to get out of this room,” says Dr. Marvin as he hands Bob a copy of his book Baby Steps. Comedic escapades ensue as Bob applies life-transforming small habits to the bigger complexities of life.

If it’s difficult for you to set—and maintain—your goal to draw regularly, try the advice given to Bob and take baby steps toward an easy and satisfying drawing habit.

Here are simple steps for starting your small drawing habit: Continue reading The Small Drawing Habit

Lifelong Drawing


Drawing is a skill you can learn and never forget. But you can get out of practice, and over the years stop altogether.

Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve felt the wind on your face, but your inner child always remembers the thrill. As written in the important little book, Art & Fear, “Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time. Quitting happens once. Quitting means not starting again—and art is all about starting again.”

Doesn’t it feel like it’s time to pick up a pencil and put it to paper? The hand may be a little wobbly and wonky at first, but give it a while. You won’t be able to resist a pleasant giggle as you feel the joy of sweeping your hand across the page, as spontaneous graphite trails traverse an eager drawing composition.

It’s never too late to start again.

The Great Lions of Drawing


Learning to control your line work is crucial in learning to draw well. One way to tame the lines in your drawings is to take time to read the line work done by great masters. In studying the confident strokes by legendary virtuosos—from ancient cave artists, to Albrecht Durer (shown above), to Eugene Delacroix—you’ll become a skilled observer of life and dramatically improve your drawing.

Following is the shortlist of my heroes who have laid down some of the greatest lines ever drawn in history. I encourage you to be diligent in studying these Great Lions of Drawing. Let’s dive in! Continue reading The Great Lions of Drawing

A Blog by Rob Court