I have been trying to get better at drawing lately, but I have been floundering. Much of what I have been drawing is poor by my standards. Poor and not getting better. To try and get better, I was trying different media and different tools (coloured pencils, watercolour, etc.). All these different things didn’t help. I was stuck.
Then I came across this video and had an a-ha moment. It’s really good. I recommend you take a few minutes and watch it.
In a nutshell, the idea is to focus. Focus on drawing one thing. Don’t do what I was doing, which was a little bit of everything. A little bit of everything didn’t add up to anything.
What I found was that by focusing, I didn’t have to think of what to do, I just did it. In his case he drew emus. In my case I drew robots. Just dozens of robots. I would start by drawing a shape and then adding to the shape. Or I’d start with a theme (a book robot) and use that to draw. The drawing didn’t have to be good, though I tried to make it good. Regardless of good or bad, what I discovered was that I was learning more about drawing from each picture. Before, I would think: what shall I do to practice drawing and get better? Now I don’t think, I just draw, and I am naturally getting better.
I think this can be true of any skill. Take running for example. You might fear starting because you don’t know anything about how to run well. Fine, just pick a short distance and run it. Do that over and over. Each time you do, you will learn something. Maybe you are running too fast. Or too slow. Or too long. Or too much. Take notes each time and look to improve. If you get stuck, do some research and try to apply it. The next thing you know you will be much better at it then you were only a short time ago.
Anyway, watch the video and then think about how you can apply it to your own life. You will improve. Keep with it.
Here’s a link to the video: The drawing advice that changed my life – YouTube
Speaking of keeping to it, he has another great video about “not getting off the bus”. I highly recommend that too. You can find it here.
The first one is make art. It can be of anything with anything. Draw, make collages, do simple painting. Anything. Why? As David Hockney says:
“We need art, and I do think it can relieve stress,” he said. “What is stress? It’s worrying about something in the future. Art is now.”
And if you can find the ingredients, try and bake bread. It’s also good for getting you to focus on the now and stop worrying about the future.
Read both pieces I’ve linked to. Then get busy.
This is a nice little tool if you want to turn a photograph into a stencil or drawing: Free Picture Stencil Maker.
If you wanted to simplify an image, this can help. For example, if you wanted to break down an image for painting or drawing, this could be really useful.
Give it a try!
These works, one of which is shown above, are fantastic: Scribbled Portraits of Brooding Figures by Adam Riches | Colossal.
Go to Colossal for more.
Artist Karina Puente is illustrating Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ and the web site ArchDaily has a sample of some of her work, including the image you see above.
I hadn’t expected to like illustrations of this book. The writing itself is so evocative, I would have thought that illustration would limit it. I make an exception for these works: they complement rather than reduce the writing.
I’d love to see an edition of Invisible Cities filled with Puente’s illustrations. For now, we can enjoy what we see at Archdaily.com.
Then send them over to this really smart post by Sarah McIntyre: i want to make cartoons & comics but i have no idea where to start!. It’s packed with great advice and plenty of links for anyone who would love to do this but is stuck on how to start.
Superb. (Image is a link to her post.)
I give you this:
I really like this idea, but then I am an IT architect and we like to stand up and draw on walls (ok, whiteboards). A whiteboard would also work, but if you have kids, there may be times when you want to save anything they did. Or never mind kids: maybe your own doodle was keep sake worthy.
By the way, you can get such paper dispensers at IKEA. Most people mount them on a table, but clearly the wall is an option too.
Wall-Mounted Kraft Paper Roll Dispenser – Design Milk.