This approach is like both wonderful and awful at the same time. It’s great for observational skills whilst also helping build up a wonderfully rich tracery of marks on your page. Whilst, at the same time, it can be so hard to do!
What is she talking about? you are wondering. This technique was taught me by a Winchester School of Art lecturer (quite a lot of years ago) and has stayed with me ever since. I can’t quite decide if it has haunted me or just stayed in touch LOL.
It’s straight forward but excruciating. Sit with a couple of objects in front of you, keep them simple. Work with charcoal or a very soft pencil and a rubber (putty ones work well with this). I would not necessarily use a graphite stick for this as it doesn’t behave in quite the right way for this exercise.
Time yourself: start with minute or two minute sessions Drawing what is in front if you. Once the minute is up then rub out your drawing. Repeat this for around twenty minutes aiming to move the objects around every two or three times you rub out.
As you work there will be times when you SO don’t want to rub out and points at which the paper becomes so marked you can’t see what you are doing. Stick with it. The end result will be either interesting or even a disaster area, but that’s fine. It’s a bonus if you end up with something to look at. This exercise is to help you relax and enjoy the process of looking and Drawing by helping you get to a point where you can relax when things go wrong, it’s ok if your drawings haven’t turned out as you expect.
The other thing I hope you will take from this is how interesting the marks on the page are. How you have built up a patina and how working this way on an intentional composition may well bring a vibrancy and energy to your drawing.