Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Learning to Draw.


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Learning to Draw

Some readers might be interested in how I reached my current level as a selftaught artist, so today I shall fill in a little background about that. What has it taken for me to get to where I am now? And just where am I as an artist? Well the answer to the second question is I'm a work in progress but I'm getting closer to where I want to be. This is probably the same for most artists, I believe, being that we are all still striving to progress. But the first question is a little harder to answer. It comes in two parts, learning to draw and learning to paint. Here goes for what my experience was of "learning to draw". I'll talk about "learning to paint" another day.

From my earliest childhood I have always found it interesting to draw. I would draw from my imagination and also from observing things around me. From the age of around six I would draw frequently, and this continued through to about the age of thirteen. After that I drew less often due to life in general taking over. By frequently I mean I would draw for about an hour usually two or three times a week. The first drawings I made were okay for my age, but looking at them now, they show many mistakes in line and form. However all the time I guess I must have been unconsciously improving. The drawings I did between age ten to twelve were definitely a leap forward. The one thing I do remember about all the drawing I did is that I was always interested in attempting something I felt sure I would not be able to draw. If anything, most of the time I was really sure I wouldn't be able to draw it. Usually the result was I didn't get it right but what I did find was I was able to see what was wrong. From this I learnt and the next time I improved at drawing a similar object. This was the way I remember learning. I often drew from old comics, by copying brilliant artists. The above is a detail I drew at age 16, copied freehand from an A4 comic. The original drawing was by the talented Mike McMahon. When I started, I thought I could make a good attempt at drawing it but that there was a high probability it would end up a mess. But I took my time at it and when it turned out so well I was filled with confidence. It made me really glad I had pushed myself to a higher level.

After this drawing, it was around then that I started to draw people from photographs. I thought that this was the ultimate level, but now I know different. The ultimate level is drawing them from life, both accurately and quickly!! Like most things in life though practice makes perfect. I eventually found that I was able to draw from photo's a good likeness and as long as I kept drawing periodically I was able to become more skilled at this. What I do find is that if you don't draw at this level for a while, meaning six months or so, you begin to slow down at your ability to get it right first time. But you can still get the likeness, it just becomes less instinctive. So drawing people really does test your ability.

Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, from the film "Schindlers List"

Here is an earlier post on learning to draw with a drawing demonstration, and my first post about learning to draw. Also how to draw a horse -- part 1. That's about it for today. This post is really making me realise what it has taken to be an artist. It's like running a marathon, you have to go one step at a time, but you can get there. I hope it's been of interest. I'll talk about my experiences of learning to paint another day. So see you then...

1 comment:

Francis Shanahan said...

I've always thought the pen and ink was the best. I'm a sucker for the drama it inherently instills in the subject matter.