The other day, a friend told me that she wanted to be able to draw. I asked her what she was doing about it and she said she didn’t know how to proceed. That got me thinking about how drawing has now become such a big part of my life. But some time ago, I was like her. I had not yet begun drawing and I wanted to learn to draw.
So how does one learn to draw? And how does one keep that habit and continue drawing? Here are 7 steps (in no particular order) that I can think out.
1. Just start
Drawing does not need to involve a complex scene or some complex objects. Even if we draw a cup, a ball, a box or even a pencil, it is good practise.
2. Practise, practise, practise – 15 minutes a day
I read a lot about drawing and nothing compares to practising. Often, the theory about drawing that I have read a while ago only became clear sometime later. It is great when I am drawing and the clarity strikes, and I think “aha, now I understand what the author was trying to say”. My drawings are not as good as many that I have seen around, but with practice, I am improving every time.
I came across a suggestion in an art book to set aside a least 15 minutes a day to draw. I think it’s a great idea. (Unfortunately it is not something I do. I feel guilty that I have forgotten about this advice until I started writing this post!)
3. Attend a class (Duh, everyone knows this…)
Unless you are someone who enjoys researching, and have the time and the inclination to learn on your own, you might like to consider joining a class. If you are a beginner, you will gain valuable information that will provide you with the foundation that is essential in art such as proportions, perspective, etc. And if you are not a beginner, you may learn new ways and new techniques that may help push your drawing even further.
4. Join a drawing group/draw with friends
I used to go out to draw every other weekend with a friend. We would draw and exchange news about what was happening in our separate worlds. It was fun and it help to me to keep up my drawing. Unfortunately, when my friend started working weekends, I lost my drawing buddy.
Drawing alone is not as fun and requires discipline. So I started looking for like minded people, and found a sketching group. Now the group meets every week, and I have my drawing buddies again.
5. Carry a sketchbook
When I have a sketchbook with me, I will draw more. I will draw when I am waiting for someone, or when having coffee. Carry one - It doesn’t need to be a fancy sketchbook, any book will do. Mine is a small A6 book that is light and does not take up much space in my bag, and I carry a few pens.
6. Participate/Submit your images to memes
There are groups on the internet that I join to connect with fellow artists. Examples of these are blogs such as Creative Every Day and Paint Party Friday. One of my favourite is Illustration Friday which has a weekly theme, which gives me a challenge and stretch my imagination. These weekly participation helps me to keep drawing, and the work of others are often educational and inspiring.
7. Have fun/letting go
I used to try to make every page of my sketchbook “count”, end would get upset if a drawing didn’t look good. I have covered up bad drawings by pasting blank paper over them. I have seen friends rip out pages of unsuccessful work.
I was seeking perfection, but I have learnt to let go and just enjoy the moment. Splash ink or paint to improve your drawing. Add other materials to turn it into a collage. Just have fun. At least that way, it becomes a positive experience and you will look forward to drawing, and having a great time again.
These are a few steps that help me. I am sure you will have more to add to my list. What else would you suggest?