All posts by Rob Court

Founder and drawing coach at the Scribbles Institute, Rob helps adults and kids learn basic drawing skills for work, school, and enjoyment. He is the author of a number of how-to-draw books.

Return to Your Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Is drawing an essential part of the human spirit?

I think Werner Herzog’s 2010 documentary film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, answers the question by illuminating the spirit of an ancient drawing hand that may dwell in each of us. Although the emphasis of the film concerns paleontological aspects of cave rock art, I’d like to offer an opinion from the perspective of an avid sketcher. Continue reading Return to Your Cave of Forgotten Dreams


When the Drawing Gets Tough—Squint!


As a kid, I remember squirming with anticipation during the climatic moment of truth in vintage Clint Eastwood westerns. The camera zooms to a closeup of Eastwood’s eyes, followed by unbearable tension as the day of reckoning swelters beneath a desert sun. With eyes narrowly focused, the legendary Clint Squint always spelled doom for the bad guys. We sketchers can take a cue from Eastwood’s famous squinting technique in learning to draw more accurately from observation. Continue reading When the Drawing Gets Tough—Squint!


The Zen of Drawing In the Zone

Imagine yourself playing your favorite sport. Forgetting all limitations, you perform flawlessly and are unstoppable as you tally up point after point. You’re in a state of mind where time is suspended and movement flows without having to think of fundamental skills. This is called being in the Zone, and it’s the state of mind you want to strive for while drawing. Drawing from the Zone can be a peaceful meditation for sketching quick ideas or creating deeply inspired work. Continue reading The Zen of Drawing In the Zone


Getting Sideways With Your Pencil


The very first thing my students learn is how to hold the pencil on its side while drawing basic lines and shapes. The overhand grip, as it’s called in the art world, is a bit awkward at first. But with practice, it quickly becomes second nature to sketchers. One advantage of the overhand grip is how much easier it is to create sweeping pencil strokes and large shapes. Another advantage is that you gain control and flexibility of your wrist when drawing angled and curved lines. You’ll also see increased sensitivity and control when varying line widths and adding tonal values (shading). And the overhand grip is less fatiguing, allowing for longer, more relaxed drawing sessions. Continue reading Getting Sideways With Your Pencil