“I can’t draw – I don’t have any talent!” sarcasm “Oh yes, of course….”
Familiar with this conversation? Unfortunately, it’s the perfect excuse to never begin at all. We automatically limit ourselves out of fear of failure or ridicule. Thus we never know if we could, in fact, draw anything we’d like. It’s tragic!
The myth of “innate talent”
Yet, we all begin to draw even before we learn to write. As tiny kids, our colored pencils in hand, we drew the things we loved: our families, our houses, the sun…. We were warmly complimented on our “budding talents”, even if we still held our pencils pretty awkwardly.
We can express more things through drawing than through our own words, especially at that age where we were limited by a child’s vocabulary.
In reality, there are always existing talents within us that remain unused.
At school we learned to write and count, working hard and learning discipline. Meanwhile, the “art class” was considered recreational; a hobby and nothing more. There, we made beautiful scribbles, and we enjoyed ourselves, but we never truly learned to draw.
Schools tend to see art as a low priority. We’re immersed in an education system where literary and scientific knowledge always come first, and where our education has little in the way of creative or artistic goals.*
It is this way of thinking that birthed the myth of “innate talent”.
*I don’t mean to say that literature and the sciences are not creative. On the contrary, they can be treasure troves of creativity! Still, we learn to summarize novels and memorize poems. But actually writing books or poems? Not much more likely than really being taught to draw.
Without you, the pencil is inert.
To begin with we’re mostly left to our own devices. It is completely normal to lose confidence in yourself. We make blunders, we make attempts, and we just don’t know where to begin. We copy; we draw without knowing where we’re going. Lost, we sometimes buy very expensive and high quality pencils, paper, or drawing tablets. In these cases, always remember that the pencil is no more than a tool, plain and simple. Whether or not it cost you a lot of money won’t change much when you’re just starting out.
Nourish your brain with the basics of drawing
Think of the pencil as an extension of your hand. It’s up to you to decide what it does. Your brain is what gives life both to this tool and to your creations.
Learn to Observe
Your favorite artists may throw together drawings at a breakneck speed, but this is simply thanks to regular training of their capacity for observation and memorization. Those skills are even more important than learning to master the pencil.
Deconstruct complex objects into lots of small, simple parts.
Damian Ortega – Cosmic thing, 2002
To do this you don’t need to copy exactly what you see, but instead analyze and understand what you’re looking at. We can observe forms in this way in both 2D and 3D: instead of the entire object, observe the contours, the light and shadows; the materials and the textures.
Learn the “Drawing Alphabet”
The letters of the alphabet (A, B, C, etc.) find their artistic equivalents in circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles. If, as a child, you successfully mastered the careful shaping of the curves and lines that make up each of the 26 letters of the alphabet, the much simpler shapes of circles or squares shouldn’t pose much of a problem, should they?
Assembling letters into words is the same as forming new , more complex shapes out of these simple ones. They will come to represent an idea or an object; maybe a person. What does it look like if you place a triangle on top of a square? A simple house – and I’ll let you fill in the chimney and window for yourself. You see, you already know how to draw. It’s child’s play!
Knowledge is nothing without practice. Vice Versa.
Practice, practice, practice! Your brain and hand will memorize lots of shapes, from the simple ones to the more complex. You will quickly learn to combine and modify them in order to create!
20% of methods will give you 80% of the results.
Most important right now are the essential drawing methods which will help you to improve in leaps and bounds. These 20% are simple methods which, when put together, allow your drawing to become ever more interesting and/or complex.
Gain confidence and speed in your drawing
On this blog you will find some theory, but it will always appear alongside concrete examples that you can immediately put into practice. Expect to be challenged with training exercises of various types and difficulty levels.
The fundamental basics of drawing remain the same for fashion, product design, architecture, animation and many other fields. Firstly I’ll share the standard theories of drawing, then follow that up with exercises designed to sharpen your analytical and observational skills.
And additionally become capable not only of copying what you see, but also of creating in your own right. If you have an unquenchable desire for it, you will draw anything you want.
Learn the drawing magic. Whatever it is, it’s both your passion and the source of your creativity. Are you with me?
CHOUTAC CHUNG – MUAY THAI, 2014
the little things make all the difference
Throughout these articles I’ll be giving you basic tips to help you gain artistic confidence. Sometimes you may be surprised by the simplicity of some of these tips and exercises, but don’t underestimate them. Apply yourself seriously, because they’ll have a major role in your future progress.
You’ll be glued to your chair for hours without noticing the time pass.
Pocket your pencil and bring it everywhere. It will be your new best friend. You’ll draw everywhere; what you find to draw on won’t be important.
You’ll truly enjoy both learning and having a go at your projects.
You’ll constantly exceed your own limits and expectations.
Be passionate about what you do, and you will reach mountaintops!
So, to begin with, what do you need?
No eraser, no pencil, no ruler.
500-page pack of laser paper in either size A4 or A3
1 BIC pen
The only rule of the game is that if you make a mistake, you cannot erase to correct it. Either fix your line somehow, or begin again. With this in mind, you are now in the very best condition to begin.