When we begin to draw, we focus on conquering the line. Often we are driven by popular artistic influences in our youthful lives to draw the strong contours of comic book heroes, Japanese anime or maybe our favorite computer game warrior. If you are older, maybe you struggled to copy the works of science fiction artists like Frank Franzetta or Boris Vallejo. While these images appeal to a young mind, it’s really hard to ever consider that there would be other options or even a method to improve an artists skill set. Very few of us have received or even knew about proper classical drawing practices especially while at a public school. If you are past high school, the first solution would be to find the closest Drawing Atelier and get started learning correctly. Even if you are still in school some ateliers offer programs for youths. You may even be fortunate to find a life drawing class at a local art school or community college. Regardless, what if you don’t have the luxury of having an atelier or any art school that teaches classical drawing and painting methods close to you?
As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s time to become disciplined and really start looking for opportunities to grow even on your own. How can you do that? Draw! Draw every day. Draw even when you are on your lunch, on a break or on vacation. If you haven’t trained yourself to do that yet, maybe make yourself a daily schedule and try to stick to it until its intuitive. As I’ve mentioned before, when you are on the go, make sure you carry a sketchbook with you. When you are at home draw anything you can get your hands on. At first stick to simple objects like an apple or an orange. Then move on to vases, coffee cups, lamps, etc.
Now that you are drawing, it’s important to start to go beyond your comfort zone, that warm fuzzy outline, and look deeper at what is in front of you. Try not to draw from photographs at first. For me personally, I like to concentrate on small objects that i can really observe the subtle changes in the values that model an image. I really enjoy leaves, but how about a simple egg to start? Before you even begin though, don’t think about the outline of that object. Really look at it. Look at where the highlight is and then allow you eyes to explore how that light indicates the subtle changes in the form as it turns away from the light. Almost allow your mind to feel that object for you with those clues. Look at the shadow. Look at how dark it is where the object rests on a surface. As you follow the shadow you can see how the shadow becomes lighter as it moves further away from the covering of the object and into the light. At the edges of the shadow it softens till it gives way to the light. Now that you’ve looked at it maybe try to sketch the values first before you ever even make a line. You practice of these observations can be the portal to your success. You are the master of your fate.
Regardless of where you think you are in your abilities, constantly challenge yourself to grow and improve your skills. This is a study I’ve been working on to try to recreate the values of a portion of this famous sculpture. I did use a photograph as a reference in this situation only due to not being able to study it in person. Regardless, I alternate between studies of life and photographs. I would only do this when you are beginning to become more advanced in your drawing skills. Happy drawing everyone!