GeekDad: Q & A With Kateri Ewing, Author of ‘Drawing is for Everyone’


Kateri Ewing is an artist in residence and teacher at the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, New York. She uses her Patreon virtual classroom to interact with her students on a daily basis.

I took an online drawing class with her and loved her approach, so I was able to cover her book and ask her some questions. Thank you Kateri for sharing with us!

1. In your 2020 book, Watercolor is for Everyone, you talk a lot about non-expectation and addressing the fear of not being good enough. Can you elaborate on that?

Sure! In my experience, many of us arrive at a certain point in our lives with a strong desire to be creative or “artistic” in some way. Often my students tell me of a defining moment in their youth where someone told them they weren’t good enough to be an artist, or they were otherwise discouraged.

For me, to allow myself to let go of any expectations of being good enough can create a sense of freedom to just let it happen on the page. The beauty and success is truly in the process, just showing up to give yourself this time in the act of creation… how it turns out is not necessarily the point.

Sometimes it will stun you! Other times not so much. But when we show up to do something every day for the joy of doing it, a miraculous thing begins to happen—we get better and better and sometimes even want to take our studies further. Non-expectation gives us the courage to show up and try the work in the first place.

2. In Drawing is for Everyone you talk about the concept of two-fold joy. I found that very inspiring. What made you come up with that concept?

I think many of us allow a sense of guilt to creep in when we first start enjoying a creative practice. People feel it is a frivolous act that they do not have time for—I KNOW DIFFERENTLY.

I know the benefits of a daily creative practice and how it has improved my productivity in life and helped me become a better person in the world. I created this concept to give beginners a sense of purpose in their new practice, and because it works!

We create joy for yourself and for someone else… and in the end that is what it’s all about.

My books are different from other art instruction books in that way… they ask you take this practice on as a process, and not an expectation for a product. The product does come over time… it really does.

3. The titles of each section in your upcoming book are very poetic: The Touch of a Feather (to transmit the importance of light drawing with graphite), a Swatch of Many Colors (talking about colored pencils), Weathered wishes… is Poetry important for your artistic practice?

You are very perceptive! Indeed, it is. Before I ever picked up a paintbrush, I was a poet… I was born a poet, I think. Painting is just a visual expression of my way of seeing and sharing the world around me.

4. What is your daily practice? Where do you find a source for inspiration?

I begin every single day with some free and expressive play in my sketchbook. The way that looks evolves over time. I have no rules or expectations. It is vital to me as a person, not just as an artist. It sets a meditative tone to my day, and is actually a form of meditation.

I draw inspiration from the awe and reverence I have for the natural world around me, and from the ordinary moments of my every day. It’s nothing profound, just an act of paying attention that becomes almost sacred.

I have some words that help me define my practice, but that do not limit it: naturalness, everydayness, simplicity, implicitly, modesty, imperfection, and silence.

5. Any advice for budding artists out there?

The most important thing, for me, is to bring a sense of wonder and curiosity to the page. Take pleasure, and don’t be too precious about your work. Sometimes it is enough to simply enjoy watching the paint mix and mingle on the paper. Be gentle with yourself, but show up EVERY DAY, even if only for ten minutes. It can change your life. It surely did change mine.

Drawing is for Everyone by Kateri Ewing

This book includes 21 intuitive, process-based lessons in drawing with graphite pencil, colored pencil, and ink. I enjoy a lesson a day since I was gifted a copy and it has been a real pleasure. You can use it, you can teach with it, and your teen can use it and start developing a new confidence, I guarantee you that.

You could derive strength from your daily doodling, just by looking at your drawing subject and tweaking the style a bit here and there, then magic happens and your drawings begin to get really, really good.

Drawing is for Everyone is on sale since July 20, 2021.

Publisher: Quarry Books, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group
Format: Paperback / softback, 128 Pages
ISBN: 9780760370667
Illustrations: 200+ color photos
Published: July 20, 2021

As a plus, let me talk to you about this other book in the series:

Watercolor is for Everyone by Kateri Ewing

I was a bit intimidated by this book and worked my way backwards: first drawing and then daring the watercolor. I was very glad I did; I’m getting some amazing results and not fearing watercolor as much as before.

The approach is similar to the intuitive step by step, but it uses a few tips and tricks to enhance the experience: metallic watercolors, beautiful brushes, smalls squares of paper.

Working or starting small indeed does wonders to your confidence, because you can finish in 10 minutes and just enjoy the result of your artistic exploration.

I still found this book more advanced, and recommend you to try drawing first, before reaching out for more adventurous artistic endeavors.

Watercolor is for Everyone is on sale since August 18, 2020.

Publisher: Quarry Books, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group
Format: Paperback / softback, 128 Pages
ISBN: 9781631598593
Illustrations: 150 color photos
Size: 8.5 in x 11 in / 215.9 mm x 279.4 mm
Published: August 18, 2020

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