Wanderlust Drawing by A.D. Cook WIP - 01/08/23

WANDERLUST, 18″x24″, pastel pencil on board, work in process, Jan 08. 2023

Power Down With Pencils

Like many of you, I spend a lot of time surrounded by technology. As I type away at this post, there is a desktop computer to my left, a laptop computer plugged into a giant monitor before me, an iPad on my desk, and an iPhone at arm’s reach. All these devices are connected and talking to one another, multi-tasking in harmony with their bright monitors and unlimited possibilities. To be clear, I love technology, and all the potential computers and design software allow me to create in an amazingly short time. What can be done today with just a few pieces of software is mindblowing in so many ways.

But, sometimes, all the tech can be a bit much. Constantly surrounded by technology, do you ever feel the need or desire to unplug it all and create with tools that don’t require batteries, Bluetooth, or a WiFi connection? I know I do. Time away from technology is as important as time at the computer. But, sometimes, we all need just to unplug, and the easiest way to unplug is to pull the plug — or at least power down.

Scribble. Blend. Erase. Repeat.


When I’m in creative mode, but the last thing I want to see is a computer monitor, I enjoy the simple process of drawing. I love that with something as simple and accessible as a pencil and paper, anyone can communicate ideas that change the world or create artworks that last centuries.

Gabriela art nude conté pencil drawing by A.D. Cook, 2013The beautiful thing about drawing is that anyone can do it. There is no right or wrong way, so long as you get pleasure from the process. I started drawing when I was just a kid, and I enjoy it as much now as then. And I especially love that I’m still learning new techniques all the time.

The most important lesson is to take joy in the process. Whereas everything created digitally is all quick clicks and immediate gratification, drawing is more meditative in its approach. When I’m drawing, time drifts away as I get immersed in the process. It’s easy to get lost in the quietness with only the sound of a pencil making its mark across the paper. When everything is coming together, it feels more like I am watching something come together and have the best seat in the house.

If you want to improve your drawing skills, there is no better way to start drawing. Experiment with different pencils and papers and discover what you like most. Play with drawing super soft strokes and blends and making extra-bold marks without worrying about an outcome. Just draw. Or scribble if you want. Scribbles can become drawings and vise-versa, all in the name of creating something.

Should you desire to develop your drawing skills, there are plenty of great books on the subject. For visual learners, there are countless free videos on YouTube and elsewhere.

As I create more pencil and pastel pieces this year, I’ll share my processes and results here. Let’s have fun with the most versatile and most-forgiving art mediums anywhere, anytime, sans batteries.

Drawings above:

Check out my PENCIL post from 2014  |  The Dragon Within

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