Something you may not know about me is that I love art. Art comes in all shapes and sizes and played an important role in my life growing up. Although I still hold my passion for art, I don’t practice it nearly as much as I did as a kid. My professional career became a priority and I quickly abandoned my own artistic abilities to focus on my job. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours online envying other artists’ work; specifically amateur artists.
Instagram is the perfect outlet for individuals to display their work and have it seen by the world. There is one Instagrammer, @drawntosketching (Jonny), that I follow and can’t help but envy his sketching abilities; so much so that I reached out to him and asked him a couple of questions. I wanted to meet Jonny beyond his photos and get to know his work on a personal level; I wanted to know what motivated him. I was very excited to receive a response from Jonny and learn that he was willing to participate! I won’t steal any more of his thunder and will let his interview do the talking.
I drew a lot as a kid, thanks to major support and encouragement from my family. They always praised my work, though looking back my art was never great compared to many of my artistic peers. I continued to draw intermittently through school and the Marine Corps, but it was my recent rediscovery of drawing that sparked my newfound passion and style. Several years ago, my Nana passed away. Then, only a couple years later, my mom passed away unexpectedly. They both left behind sketchbooks they had barely started decades ago. I decided to finish those books for them, so I made it a priority to sketch almost every day. It was a lot easier to gain momentum when it was for someone else.
I am a graphic designer by trade, so sketching has always been a part of my design process. I also have the privilege of working for an agency called Vertetude, where art is valued and used in a way that supports brand strategy for the appropriate clients. All of the sketches I have posted to Instagram have been personal. However, those sketches have had a profound influence on my ability to execute concepts as a designer and approach art-oriented projects with more confidence. I am currently working on a really fun illustration project for Vertetude’s New Year’s greeting. I can’t release many details yet, but anyone interested in seeing an artful approach to recent natural and scientific discoveries should follow @artfuldiscovery. Our followers will get to see every stage of my digital art process while learning some amazing things about our world.
Thank you. For my personal projects, it’s definitely my focus. Drawing mountains and forests makes me feel closer to them when I am in the city or stuck in my dreadful commute. It also helps that the organic wildness of my subjects lends itself well to the style in which I sketch—it’s a lot easier to make a tree look great scribbled than someone’s face. However, I would specifically like to improve at sketching people, so I have been working on that a bit. Similar to outdoor photography, having a person in the image helps give scale to the scenery and tell more of a story.
That’s easy—wherever the coffee is. Actually, what’s funny is that I have found my ideal environment for sketching is the one place in which I actively avoided sketching for years—the bus on my way to and from the city. It’s a super bumpy ride, it’s dark, and there is often someone cramped against my side. However, my commute takes up such a large chunk of my weekdays, I knew I had to use it as an opportunity for growth, rather than just a jail cell between home and work.
I keep it pretty simple; paper, a pencil for a rough outline to get my perspective and scale right, and then a .005 Micron Pen (occasionally a larger one) for the rest. This works great for me because I can sketch anywhere while packing light. I use a small, 3.5”x5.5” sketchbook on the bus and a 5.5”x7.5” sketchbook everywhere else.
I regularly create art digitally at work for a variety of clients and projects. What I love about working digitally is that it’s incredible flexible (not to mention my favorite keyboard shortcut, “Cmnd+Z”). Aside from the digital mediums, I was really into drawing with charcoal pencils for about a year in college. I was decent with it, and enjoyed being able to achieve dramatic contrast and smooth shading, but that medium doesn’t work well on the go. I also recently played around with watercolor, but it was a struggle for me and I abandoned it quickly due to it being less mobile (though some people are really amazing with it). The hardest part about watercolor for me is my inability to control the details, but I think it could beautifully compliment my pen work, so I haven’t thrown in the towel yet.
That’s a great question. Instagram is home to such an amazing art community. I love to see the incredible work that other artists are doing, as it inspires me not to mimic their styles but develop and refine my own. First and foremost, Instagram keeps me accountable to sketch so I have something to post. It’s like a visual checkbox. Just today, I looked at my account and noticed that my last post was over a week ago. I have been sketching all week for work, but it’s a helpful reminder that I need to sketch for myself too. Also, Instagram has been a bit of an experiment just to see what people respond to. I’ve learned that people enjoy the character that shines through in my rougher sketches, and also that people love to see process—to be welcomed into the intimate moment of creating artwork. Our followers can get plenty of that on @artfuldiscovery.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Jonny as much as I did. Not only does his passion for drawing exist in his art, but also in his words. I am grateful that Jonny agreed to participate and can honestly say I’m inspired by our collaboration. With the New Year approaching, I will take this inspiration and make a valiant effort to begin sketching again. Regardless of your passion, I hope you enjoyed checking out Jonny’s artwork and getting to know a little more about him; and maybe walked away with a little inspiration yourself. Definitely find Jonny on Instagram (@drawntosketching) and give him some likes or a follow!
Before you go, I’d like to hear about your passions/hobbies and what inspires you to create. Share below!