About a century ago (well I exaggerate a little); I was a college student studying art at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. I had a brilliant and successful art teacher named Steve, who demonstrated how the practice of art-making and the hatching of new ideas could be brought to life. He taught me many useful things, such as how to keep an art sketchbook pasted with photos of artwork by artists I admired, and how to write about my art in a way that expressed my unique artistic voice. Above all, his most important advice was that I should draw every day. At the time, that task seemed quite difficult. I was always an impatient artist as a student and I often rushed through the drawing stage to hurry up and get to the painting, the “good part.” Now that many years have passed since my graduation from McDaniel, I can truly see the wisdom of his advice.
With hindsight, I realize that he was so right about drawing every day. I no longer rush artwork and I have learned to love drawing, whether it becomes a painting or not. In fact, I have embraced his advice of a daily drawing habit and I have worked on several art challenges for both human portraiture and pet portraits on my Instagram account. One of these challenges is called 100 faces in 100 days, in which I drew a pre-selected photo of a celebrity using only pencil and paper. I did not add in a lot of detail or shading and I limited myself to 45 minutes a day. My latest art challenges were in October, in which I participated in Inktober, and also in December when I challenged myself to draw figures and portraits every day for about 3 weeks, with a pencil or whatever other media I felt drawn to use for the challenge.
The most important takeaway I can say about drawing and getting good at it is that it really helps your art practice to flourish. For instance, once you have the drawing and composition mastered, you can enjoy the next step more fully, whether it’s collage, painting, or some other art form such as graphic design or sculpture. With an accurate drawing, you won’t have to worry about continuing to fix it and can fully embrace your next steps.
In conclusion, I am currently preparing myself to teach a beginner’s drawing course at the Adams County Arts Council in Gettysburg, PA this winter, and the drawing practice has been great practice. To learn more about the course, Classic Drawing, please visit http://www.adamsart.org. I am realizing just how fundamental those drawing techniques of using basic shapes and practicing observing what I see, whether it’s a photo or a real-life object, are so important for accurate drawing. Here are some examples of the drawing exercises and projects I have been working on to prepare for this class. Enjoy! Thanks for reading!