learning to draw

I've decided to learn to draw. Just for fun and as a creative outlet for when words need to shhhhh.

I'm always doodling. Bit obsessive about squares at the moment.

I found a little course online so I'm going to do that.

Wondering if there is anyone here that draws and has any tips or words of wisdom?

Or anyone who is just starting out like me?

Comments

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited December 2020

    Welcome to NV!

    This is going to sound strange but if you find a picture you'd like to copy, try turning it upside down and draw what you see.

    If the picture is upside down you will focus more on the lines and contour rather than your mind making a gestalt impression of how it should look. It engages the left hemisphere to make sense of what you're viewing in an orderly way. Likewise if you try drawing with your non-dominant hand. That will activate the opposite side of your brain. Your picture won't look great of course, but it's a good warm-up activity that I taught for many years. It's also helpful to draw with your eyes closed so the critical mind won't take over.

    What medium are you considering? What style?

    Good luck with this. I hope you have fun!

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm not really good at drawing, but I like doing it sometimes. One of the tips I have is that when I'm trying to figure out how to draw a person or other animal I will try to figure out what shapes I can make out of their body parts, including details like facial features, and then draw a simplified version using those shapes to make up the structure of them.

    I know people already do that, but I don't use it to actually make a drawing, just study the form of something. When I'm not focusing on being able to make a better drawing later it helps me focus on that. It's also easier if you can find pictures of major structures, like the skull, and then figure out the shapes you need to make those specific individual parts. Bones give form to animals and knowing how to shape the bones of something will give you the tools to draw that animal in a better proportion.

  • OliOli Citizen

    I used to sketch/draw/paint before ABI. I've only just returned to it today, funnily enough. I'm finding all my lines are a bit wonky. I like the viewfinder method (small square cut in a sheet of card) to give some focus.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    Hi BonanzaJay and welcome ☺

    I sketch a bit, but mostly just for fun with graphite and/or watercolour pencils.

  • Welcome BonanzaJay. The best drawing I did was when I was in graduate school. For four semesters we had to peer through a microscope and draw the spores and other microscopic structures of fungi. I really enjoyed it and got pretty good at it.

  • I used to draw a_ lot _when I was younger, and my mother encouraged me. I wasn't really that artistic, though, and I ended up being far more proficient at reading and writing than drawing (and got much more positive feedback for my facility with language relative to my art skills), so I haven't drawn much in many years. The one exception was when I revived a childhood comic strip I used to make, called Subitive and Rock. But even that was a few years ago. I really don't draw anymore tbh. I have other hobbies I do now.

  • Welcome to the forum, BonanzaJay 🙂

    Artistically, I cannot draw a stick man as good as a 3-year-old's. But I was good at an enjoyed technical drawing.

  • Lost_DragonLost_Dragon Citizen, Member
    edited December 2020

    I have two art folders full of drawings. Sometimes I draw in my down-time, other times I create art for my work. One folder is for humans (I struggle to draw people) and the other is for everything else (flowers, furniture sketches, other animals). For me, some animals are a lot easier to draw than others. I find it easier to draw dogs and squirrels compared to horses. The joints in a horse can be difficult to capture; particularly the legs.

    # Here's some advice from an amateur artist

    1) Multiple references. There's no shame in referring to references and I encourage it. You may want to refer to a different perspective of an object or incorporate elements from another picture / object entirely. For example, you might want to draw a chair, and you find a reference you really like for the chair legs. However, if you dislike the back of that particular chair, then you could look to a different image that has a back you like and combine the two. Granted, doing so may not always work and require some tweaking to fit proportionally, but it can be good to experiment anyway.

    2) Keep track of your progress. You may want to make notes / annotations sparingly on your old work such as "I like...", "this part doesn't look right because..." etc. If something looks off, consider why that might be. Refer to your references and see how they differ. Avoid only writing criticism, it's also important to note the good parts to your work / what works as well. However, don't hoard - keep parts that matter.

    3) Don't jump straight into stylisation. You don't have to draw photo- realism, but in order to break rules effectively you must first understand them. Even if you're drawing cartoons with unrealistic proportions, it can be beneficial to look briefly into subjects such as anatomy or dance / general movement.

    4) Find artists' work you admire / like. Consider why you like it, what works well and which parts you don't like as much.

    5) You should, ideally, treat it like an experiment. There are going to be duds. Failures. However, this does not mean that you are a failure, simply that something about your approach needs tweaking. Practice is important, but practice is only any good if you are actively adjusting and adapting based on what you have learnt rather than simply repeating the same process in the hopes of a different result.

    Hopefully this helps. 🙂

    What do you like to draw? Is there a particular area you'd like to improve upon?

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen

    I have got back into painting recently.

    There are load of resources out there, but it is more what your interest in as what to recommend.

    You are into squares in an abstract way or as part of life drawing or expressionism?.

  • I studied art for many years. One exercise that helped me immensely was drawing with my less dominant hand. I am right handed and drew with my left, life models, nudes were especially interesting. It helps develop an "absolute" line, similar to Matisse's nudes, or the preparations for Picasso's Cubism, and Mondrian's trees, finding the minimal, absolute line. It's really fun, and helps to integrate with and bond with the subject in its essence. Charcoal is an excellent medium for this. Have fun and enjoy the experience, the experience of just drawing, feeling the lines, the linear DNA of the subject is much more valuable than the actual end result in my opinion. You will eventually find your own artistic language and medium by experimenting.

  • @Isabella said:
    Welcome to NV!

    This is going to sound strange but if you find a picture you'd like to copy, try turning it upside down and draw what you see.

    If the picture is upside down you will focus more on the lines and contour rather than your mind making a gestalt impression of how it should look. It engages the left hemisphere to make sense of what you're viewing in an orderly way. Likewise if you try drawing with your non-dominant hand. That will activate the opposite side of your brain. Your picture won't look great of course, but it's a good warm-up activity that I taught for many years. It's also helpful to draw with your eyes closed so the critical mind won't take over.

    What medium are you considering? What style?

    Good luck with this. I hope you have fun!

    Ooh, I love stuff like that - okay - upside down drawing, on the list :D
    Sometimes I write with my nondominant hand - will try drawing this way too.
    And with my eyes closed - amazing!
    All great tips. I'll love trying these, thanks :)

  • @Isabella said:
    Welcome to NV!

    This is going to sound strange but if you find a picture you'd like to copy, try turning it upside down and draw what you see.

    If the picture is upside down you will focus more on the lines and contour rather than your mind making a gestalt impression of how it should look. It engages the left hemisphere to make sense of what you're viewing in an orderly way. Likewise if you try drawing with your non-dominant hand. That will activate the opposite side of your brain. Your picture won't look great of course, but it's a good warm-up activity that I taught for many years. It's also helpful to draw with your eyes closed so the critical mind won't take over.

    What medium are you considering? What style?

    Good luck with this. I hope you have fun!

    Oh and medium, I guess pencil? Keeping it simple. I'm not even sure what the different mediums might be. I love how charcoal drawings look and pastels but I hate hate hate the feel and sound of them. What's your favoured medium?
    Stylewise... no idea! I don't like drawing people or animals so I guess it would maybe be mainly objects. I like geometric images and abstractions. Ooh it's exciting!
    I started the little online course I found the other day and drew a circle, a mug and a wonky fork! Enjoyed it though.
    What's your style? I love cartoons so maybe something like that.

  • @Hylian said:
    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm not really good at drawing, but I like doing it sometimes. One of the tips I have is that when I'm trying to figure out how to draw a person or other animal I will try to figure out what shapes I can make out of their body parts, including details like facial features, and then draw a simplified version using those shapes to make up the structure of them.

    I know people already do that, but I don't use it to actually make a drawing, just study the form of something. When I'm not focusing on being able to make a better drawing later it helps me focus on that. It's also easier if you can find pictures of major structures, like the skull, and then figure out the shapes you need to make those specific individual parts. Bones give form to animals and knowing how to shape the bones of something will give you the tools to draw that animal in a better proportion.

    I like the idea of drawing bones. Feel like that's maybe something I could do in a museum?

    And that's an interesting thought - to break things down into composite shapes. Thank you

  • @Oli said:
    I used to sketch/draw/paint before ABI. I've only just returned to it today, funnily enough. I'm finding all my lines are a bit wonky. I like the viewfinder method (small square cut in a sheet of card) to give some focus.

    what's ABI?

    I'd not heard of the viewfinder method before. It sounds a bit fiddly. I tend to like more freeflowing creative stuff. Could be a good one to keep in the back of my mind though :) Thanks

  • @Amity said:
    Hi BonanzaJay and welcome ☺

    I sketch a bit, but mostly just for fun with graphite and/or watercolour pencils.

    I like the sound of graphite. Maybe I will try that. At the moment I just have a few random pencils. Mainly pretty skinny ones and then one 4B or something.
    I get annoyed with watercolour because it's too pale. I prefer sharpies!

  • @blazingstar said:
    Welcome BonanzaJay. The best drawing I did was when I was in graduate school. For four semesters we had to peer through a microscope and draw the spores and other microscopic structures of fungi. I really enjoyed it and got pretty good at it.

    That sounds brilliant. I remember having a microscope when I was little and I loved it. Omg I think I need to get a microscope

  • @ting1984 said:
    I used to draw a_ lot _when I was younger, and my mother encouraged me. I wasn't really that artistic, though, and I ended up being far more proficient at reading and writing than drawing (and got much more positive feedback for my facility with language relative to my art skills), so I haven't drawn much in many years. The one exception was when I revived a childhood comic strip I used to make, called Subitive and Rock. But even that was a few years ago. I really don't draw anymore tbh. I have other hobbies I do now.

    That's kind of like me, Ting. I enjoyed drawing pictures as well as writing stories but the good feedback was on my writing so I kept going with that. What are the hobbies that you do now? Do you still write?

  • @Bender said:
    Welcome to the forum, BonanzaJay 🙂

    Artistically, I cannot draw a stick man as good as a 3-year-old's. But I was good at an enjoyed technical drawing.

    Thanks Bender! Pleased to be here. The forum has a lovely interface!
    I think I would find technical drawing frustrating. I'm not very good with precision. In fact, once I went to an art class at the local college and we had to sit drawing a pile of books for ages and I got bored and started doodling and the tutor came over and started laughing and was like hahaha what's that and I looked at it and was like oh yeah I've drawn a massive vagina. Maybe should have guessed a bit sooner about not being straight huh :D

  • @Lost_Dragon said:
    I have two art folders full of drawings. Sometimes I draw in my down-time, other times I create art for my work. One folder is for humans (I struggle to draw people) and the other is for everything else (flowers, furniture sketches, other animals). For me, some animals are a lot easier to draw than others. I find it easier to draw dogs and squirrels compared to horses. The joints in a horse can be difficult to capture; particularly the legs.

    # Here's some advice from an amateur artist

    1) Multiple references. There's no shame in referring to references and I encourage it. You may want to refer to a different perspective of an object or incorporate elements from another picture / object entirely. For example, you might want to draw a chair, and you find a reference you really like for the chair legs. However, if you dislike the back of that particular chair, then you could look to a different image that has a back you like and combine the two. Granted, doing so may not always work and require some tweaking to fit proportionally, but it can be good to experiment anyway.

    2) Keep track of your progress. You may want to make notes / annotations sparingly on your old work such as "I like...", "this part doesn't look right because..." etc. If something looks off, consider why that might be. Refer to your references and see how they differ. Avoid only writing criticism, it's also important to note the good parts to your work / what works as well. However, don't hoard - keep parts that matter.

    3) Don't jump straight into stylisation. You don't have to draw photo- realism, but in order to break rules effectively you must first understand them. Even if you're drawing cartoons with unrealistic proportions, it can be beneficial to look briefly into subjects such as anatomy or dance / general movement.

    4) Find artists' work you admire / like. Consider why you like it, what works well and which parts you don't like as much.

    5) You should, ideally, treat it like an experiment. There are going to be duds. Failures. However, this does not mean that you are a failure, simply that something about your approach needs tweaking. Practice is important, but practice is only any good if you are actively adjusting and adapting based on what you have learnt rather than simply repeating the same process in the hopes of a different result.

    Hopefully this helps. 🙂

    What do you like to draw? Is there a particular area you'd like to improve upon?

    This is great advice Dragon, thanks.

    I will definitely try number 4! points 3 and 5 are especially good advice too.

    I prefer to draw plants and objects. I don't enjoy drawing people or animals. To be honest, I mostly like drawing patterns and textures, repetitive shapes. I just want to improve my general drawing skill and learn some techniques. I don't know the terminology but even just shading and things like that!

  • @verity said:
    I have got back into painting recently.

    There are load of resources out there, but it is more what your interest in as what to recommend.

    You are into squares in an abstract way or as part of life drawing or expressionism?.

    Squares in an abstract way. I do enjoy life drawing, it's interesting. There's something about squares that I find really soothing!

    I love painting too but I prefer hobbies that require minimal equipment like running or drawing. Got trainers? Run. Got pen? Draw. Easy peasy. I like to have minimal barriers to stop me from starting. The brain puts enough of those in place as it is.

  • @Teach51 said:
    I studied art for many years. One exercise that helped me immensely was drawing with my less dominant hand. I am right handed and drew with my left, life models, nudes were especially interesting. It helps develop an "absolute" line, similar to Matisse's nudes, or the preparations for Picasso's Cubism, and Mondrian's trees, finding the minimal, absolute line. It's really fun, and helps to integrate with and bond with the subject in its essence. Charcoal is an excellent medium for this. Have fun and enjoy the experience, the experience of just drawing, feeling the lines, the linear DNA of the subject is much more valuable than the actual end result in my opinion. You will eventually find your own artistic language and medium by experimenting.

    I really like the sound of finding the minimal, absolute line. I'm not really sure what it is!

  • @BonanzaJay said:

    @Oli said:
    I used to sketch/draw/paint before ABI. I've only just returned to it today, funnily enough. I'm finding all my lines are a bit wonky. I like the viewfinder method (small square cut in a sheet of card) to give some focus.

    what's ABI?

    I'd not heard of the viewfinder method before. It sounds a bit fiddly. I tend to like more freeflowing creative stuff. Could be a good one to keep in the back of my mind though :) Thanks

    ABI is an Acquired Brain Injury. I have one, as well. Actually I have two now! 😕

    Viewfinder works great for isolating your focus.

    I usually sketch with graphite, conté, charcoal, or watercolour pencils depending on the weight of my paper or the effect I'm looking for.

    I love doing circles too. I can sketch circles or bubbles for hours if I need to decompress or if I'm anxious.

    I hope you're having fun with it BonanzaJay!

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