I recently was asked if I’d taken art classes in college. My short answer was no, I took them in high school, but after that I would just pick up a book or take a class if I wanted to learn a new art skill.
Some people believe that, because I can do a fairly good drawing and never took a formal course in fine arts, I have some kind of art talent. Therefore, if their drawings don’t look the way they want them to, they must not have art talent.
I’m going to shout this next bit in the hope that it gets across how I feel about it, so get ready:
YOU DON’T NEED A TALENT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW WELL!
Maybe you’ve heard this before from other people but didn’t believe them. Luckily for all of us, it’s true! Think of other things that you’ve learned how to do with no prior experience and now do well. Like walking. There was a time in your life when you couldn't walk. It was a struggle. You kept falling down. You might have had to hold on to things as you made your way across a room.
And now look at you!
Okay, maybe I’m being a little flippant (my apologies if you aren’t currently able to walk, but you probably understand the difficulty of it better than those of us who do it without thinking). The only way we get good at something is if we do it ALOT.
As in EVERY DAY.
Or close enough to every day, like more days than not. It has to be performed so often that it’s better than a habit. It’s just a natural part of you.
Can you imagine doing that with a pencil and a piece of paper? Because if you really want to learn how to draw, you need to commit to doing the actual work. You need to put a pencil on the paper and make marks.
It doesn’t have to be beautiful. There are guidelines that can help you learn how to draw things so that they come out the way you want them to. But if you don’t want to put in the time to practice, you’ll forever be saying “I can’t draw”. Which isn’t quite true. You CAN draw; what you’re really saying is you don’t want to put the time into doing it.
I want you to draw, and I want to help you make your drawings look like what you want them to. It’s very rewarding, and it helps your brain in so many ways I can’t begin to list them all. And the world can always use another artist. If everyone in the world spent more time drawing, it would be a happier place! Think of all the ways we could eliminate miscommunication by drawing pictures for one another. It’s true - a picture is worth a thousand words in any language!
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to post a “how to draw” video every month. Each video will focus on a specific part of the drawing process that will help your brain understand how to translate 3D objects into 2D images. We’ll tackle different subjects like perspective, composition, and other technical terms you may have heard artists throw out there, but we’ll do it all in a way that’s easy, fun and gets you excited about drawing. You know those mini candy bars that leave you wanting for more? That's what these videos are going to be like. Only without the chocolate, creamy nougat, coconut or almonds (awww!).
In return, all you'll have to do is watch the videos and practice drawing. Easy peasy, right?
I know there are a lot of other artists out there making drawing courses for beginners and I’m thinking that I don’t need to repeat all of that good work because you probably have already tried some of them. So this isn’t going to be for beginners. It’s going to be for people who have picked up a pencil in the past, put it to paper, and didn’t like how it turned out. Instead of getting frustrated, this time we’re going to figure out what’s going on and fix it so that the drawing comes out more like what we expect.
Does that sound like a good idea? I hope so!
Topic 1 will be on Sighting. What is sighting, why do artists use it, and how can you use it to make your drawing better? Look for the video towards the second half of February.
In the meantime, your homework assignment is to get a sketchbook (or a bunch of inexpensive paper) and to spend a few minutes every day (or every other day) drawing anything. Draw your finger. If the finger is too big of a challenge, try drawing a fingernail. Or the ring on a finger. Draw only the outlines or try shading it with the pencil. Or use a pen.
Draw coffee cups, pens, shoes, buttons, paper clips, books and lamps. Close your eyes and tell yourself you'll draw the first thing you see when you open them.
It doesn't matter what or how you draw it, only that you're making it a habit and you're having fun.
Are you ready?