art sketch of a cow

Cows Causing Change: How Art Helps People


One of the tenets of Sketchbook Skool is art for all. We believe that art has the power to change everyone that crosses its path. Keeping a sketchbook, recording your daily life, and capturing your environment will change you and the people around you, for the better. One striking example of the impact a single sketchbook can have on a whole community of people begins with a cow in the hills of northern England.

Sketchbook Skool student Louise Fletcher used to make art solely with watercolor. She explored and painted landscapes and took night classes in studio art in her hometown. She signed up for a Sketchbook Skool course and began to document the things around her in a different way. Sketchbook Skool began to change the way she approached her art.

On a walk one day, Louise encountered a cow, and as the voices of Sketchbook Skool fakulty echoed in her head, she drew it. After posting her drawing on social media on a whim, she was met with an overwhelming response; more feedback than any of her work warranted before. As she puts it:

I loved that the sketch made a real connection with complete strangers, some of whom told me they had never even really looked at a cow before, just driven past them. I’m a vegetarian and a real animal lover, so I saw an opportunity to create art that says something.

To be honest, I was amazed at the wonderful reaction, and deeply gratified. It’s nice to share assignment sketches and have people respond positively, but this work is more personal to me, and therefore I was more timid about sharing it. Now I have no such fears because people have been kind and warm and encouraging and funny and inspirational. Why wouldn’t you want some of that?!

Amidst all of the buzz surrounding her cow, we noticed a trend in our online community. Someone here or there would post a cow drawing, and point out that they had been inspired by Louise to do so; that her drawing made them stop and helped them to see something in their own environments that they had often overlooked. Then something else happened. Louise shared her feelings about one of her favorite cow paintings being rejected for an art show. Within a matter of days, the Sketchbook Skool Facebook group was brimming with bovine portraits from all over the world. Another student even blogged about it. We asked Louise how this made her feel.

Honestly, I cried a little bit. Because as I said, my initial wish was to inspire others to pay more attention to the animals we eat and now there were all these other artists going out and drawing/photographing/really looking at cows – and then sharing their work with their friends and fans. I couldn’t have asked for anything more inspiring…

So a single drawing of a cow lead to a boatload of other drawings of cows; but more importantly, it helped a bunch of people see something in a new way, including Louise. She is now pushing her own art in new directions and viewing both her life and her work through fresh and exciting lenses. In Sketchbook Skool, that’s what it’s all about and we hope that a drawing a day leads to this change in you too.

2 mins

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