Drawing is a skill you can learn and never forget. But you can get out of practice, and over the years stop altogether.
Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve felt the wind on your face, but your inner child always remembers the thrill. As written in the important little book, Art & Fear, “Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time. Quitting happens once. Quitting means not starting again—and art is all about starting again.”
Doesn’t it feel like it’s time to pick up a pencil and put it to paper? The hand may be a little wobbly and wonky at first, but give it a while. You won’t be able to resist a pleasant giggle as you feel the joy of sweeping your hand across the page, as spontaneous graphite trails traverse an eager drawing composition.
It’s never too late to start again.
Learning to control your line work is crucial in learning to draw well. One way to tame the lines in your drawings is to take time to read the line work done by great masters. In studying the confident strokes by legendary virtuosos—from ancient cave artists, to Albrecht Durer (shown above), to Eugene Delacroix—you’ll become a skilled observer of life and dramatically improve your drawing.
Following is the shortlist of my heroes who have laid down some of the greatest lines ever drawn in history. I encourage you to be diligent in studying these Great Lions of Drawing. Let’s dive in! Continue reading The Great Lions of Drawing
Parents and teachers, please pass this on to your kids who enjoy drawing:
Decades ago, when I was in elementary and middle school, other kids sometimes said I was weird because I was really involved in my drawing. But they also thought of me as “the artist”, and that made me feel cool and gave me self-confidence in other school subjects besides just art class. In high school the label of artist became official when I started drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. Quite honestly, my drawing skills helped me get through school.
If you like to draw, your drawing skills can help you make friends, impress your teachers, and get better grades—even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist. Here’s how drawing can help you in school: Continue reading 3 Ways Drawing Can Help You In School
An endearing little mouse named Celestine proves that it takes determination, and oftentimes courage, to keep drawing—even when being told by over-bearing adults that drawing is a complete waste of time.
In the 2014 Oscar-nominated animated film “Ernest and Celestine”, the young mouse forms a forbidden relationship with a bumbling bear, thus beginning a heartwarming journey from fear to true friendship. Although the story’s main theme is about the power of friendship, the sub-themes of being steadfast in your art and the importance of nurturing creativity—in particular, drawing!—resonate with me.
Continue reading Born to Draw
I learned to draw flowers at a young age. You probably did too. As children, we were encouraged to make each flower an object of beauty. But what about wilted native sunflowers? Why would anyone spend time drawing such dreadful looking things? Continue reading In the Eye of the Beholder
Every drawing you do has the potential to suck. Or not.
The fear of making mistakes is what keeps many of us from even trying to draw. However, it is possible to embrace failure and actually enjoy salvaging a drawing from the brink of disaster. Sketching through your mistakes on paper is an important and fun part of learning to draw accurately. Continue reading Practice Failure
Paging through decades of drawings quickly unlocks specific memories. The way shadows were cast on a summer afternoon in rural Mexico, or the emotional roller coaster of love and loss in suburban California. Each drawing reveals the history of impassioned urgency to capture the essence of my subjects with quickness of line. Youthful notions of exacting realism give way to experimentation in style and techniques. When making and viewing sketchbooks, the joy is in the details. Continue reading Letting Your Eye Fall in Love
Is drawing an essential part of the human spirit?
I think Werner Herzog’s 2010 documentary film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, answers the question by illuminating the spirit of an ancient drawing hand that may dwell in each of us. Although the emphasis of the film concerns paleontological aspects of cave rock art, I’d like to offer an opinion from the perspective of an avid sketcher. Continue reading Return to Your Cave of Forgotten Dreams