Hat sketch

Pencil drawing of a sun hat
Sun hat, Greece. Pencil on paper. July 2021.

One afternoon while away in Greece, I decided to draw something to hand. My sun hat seemed as good as anything. So I sat and drew for a couple of hours and came up with this.

The energy barrier for starting was high. I hadn’t drawn anything with pencil for a long time before this – years. Fear that I couldn’t and doubt that there was any point had swirled themselves into a kind of paralysis. It took a few weeks away from the daily routine with nothing at all to do and inspiration from David DuChemin’s book Start Ugly to come round to the idea that I could try without it mattering if it was a terrible failure and waste of time. It wasn’t.

I’m really happy with the shape and the shading – it didn’t take long to get the feel of pencil on paper again. The texture was a problem – it’s a weaved straw hat, very difficult to recreate in detail. I went for the impression of texture in some areas, leaving the viewer to interpret the rest.

Even more importantly, I loved making this sketch, it was really satisfying and reminded me of how it feels to get lost in making a drawing and of the value in doing random observational studies.

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