Fun With a Pencil

I’ve had a copy of Loomis’ Fun with a Pencil kicking about various hard drives for about 10 years now. It’s served as a handy reference during that time but at the start of this year I committed to completing it fully.

Defining “complete” as copying out every page, I gave myself this year to get it done. I also wanted to use it to practice drawing digitally (which fits our nomadic lifestyle better) and I initially started on my iPad Mini with a stylus but when I got to Singapore I upgraded to an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, which was like moving from cave painting with fingers to painting oils with the most delicate of brushes.

I am now on page 105 out of 122 and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it.

A screenshot of the Mac Photos app with lots of thumbnails of Loomis drawings

I’ve tried to do at least 30 minutes every day this year, although now it’s up to more like an hour, and I believe that cultivating the discipline required to work methodically through this book has helped me take some great leaps forward.

It’s also useful to never have to deal with the blank page. Some days I have just not felt like working on anything original. Being able to turn to this project in order to draw at least something on those days has been incredibly important to not lose the habit of drawing every day.

We are our habits, and unfortunately falling out of a creative habit is very easy to do.

A screenshot of the Procreate App on the iPad Pro, filled with drawings from Loomis
More Loomis efforts in Procreate

Because it has been such a boon to my drawing, I am now looking for a new book to work through next year. Loomis has some others, but I think it would be more helpful to turn to other artists to broaden my exposure to different styles. Suggestions are welcome: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.