1. Place your open pad of paper in front of you. Remove a piece of drawing paper and put it on the table next to your pad (to the left for righties, to the right for lefties).
2. With scissors, cut a 15-inch piece of wire, and bend it into a shape that appeals to you, leaving the ends loose. Don’t create a recognizable shape, like a flower. If you’ve made a shape that sticks way up, flatten it a little.
3. Put your wire on the loose piece of scrap paper next to your pad to see the wire more clearly. Move the wire around until you find a view that you like. You’re going to draw on the pad. Tilt the pad if it feels more comfortable that way.
4. Look at your wire. You don’t have to memorize the shape; just begin the process of observation, taking in the wire’s bends and bumps from one end to the other.
5. Hold your pencil as you would when writing. Put your pencil point on the paper at a spot that will correspond to one end of your wire. Once your pencil point touches the paper, don’t lift it until you’ve recorded the entire wire, from end to end.
6. Slowly, very slowly, begin to record what you see—every change, every bend in the wire—with one dark, continuous line. If you’re a speed demon who charges through intersections, you’ll have a challenge here. The slower you go, the more you’ll benefit.
7. Look back and forth between your pencil line and the wire as you work, keeping your pencil point on the paper at all times, without lifting it. Proceed v-e-r-r-r-y slowly. You are not going to erase, so make your marks show. Press down and watch a nice dark line emerge from your pencil point. Record the wire until you reach the end.
8. Do at least two more drawings, on one sheet, if there’s room—using your black pen this time. Remember to change the wire shape each time. Maintain a slow pace. Eraser is forbidden—so be bold!