When I attended art school in the 50’s, students could only take drawing classes the first year– we did not use color at all except in the 3D design classes. Consequently, I believe I received a good background in drawing. I believe firmly that drawing is the foundation of all the visual arts. Sometimes I think that if a student makes a successful painting without knowing how to draw, he is either very lucky, or has TRACED! So I am sharing some of my drawing lessons with you.
Drawing is a skill, not a talent. Anyone can learn how to draw — it just takes observation, coordination, and practice. Just like learning to play the piano, a person can learn all the notes, but if he doesn’t PRACTICE, he won’t improve. So learning to draw means drawing! I usually give my beginning drawing students an assignment each week to be completed in their sketchbooks. And please, have a good sketchbook — one with spiral edges so that the sketchbook can be laid flat. The sketchbook can be used for taking notes as well. I must have about 25 filled sketchbooks that I’ve collected over the years! I will never throw them away — my kids will do that after I’m gone! Always date your drawings too, so that you can see your progress from week to week.
One other thing before we get into more instructions — don’t beat up on yourself. Don’t say, “I can’t draw a straight line!” Of course you can’t — we all need rulers for that! Don’t self-criticize, just focus. We are all learners, and we all have failures one time or another. The difference is that we learn from them.
You’ve just read the post about contour drawing. The next post will be about gesture drawing. This is the way I start my beginning drawing classes.