Friday, August 30, 2013

On Learning to Draw and Who to Thank

Steampunk Girls From 2011 to 2013
Steampunk Girls From 2011 to 2013
Sometime, back in 2011, I began scribbling terrible drawings into a yellow lined notebook. The urge to draw had come over me several times before, but it wasn't until then that I actually took pencil to paper, and tried my hand, literally. I was awful, at first, and nearly gave up, before doing some research on the internet.

I found a few tutorials that allowed me to enhance my drawing to where I was at least comfortable to show an air force pilots helmet to someone I worked with, at the time, who I knew had some expertise in drawing. And it's him, I should thank for encouraging me to continuing drawing.

The first thing he said, after looking at what I'd done, was to ask, "Did you have fun drawing it?" And I said, "Yes."

Get the Right Criticism
Get the Right Criticism
For some reason, that attitude in him was all I needed to keep going with drawing. He didn't criticize, awkwardly stare at the picture quietly, or just offer a lame, "It's nice," before passing it back. His response gave me the impression I should draw for me, and that's exactly why I had picked up the pencil in the first place.

That wasn't the only piece of advice he gave me either. I began drawing every day, and I showed him several things I'd done. And each time, he never lumped on loads of criticism. He offered mild non-personal critiques that sounded like, "These are looking good. Now you need to work on..." His gentle approach allowed me to learn at my own pace and allowed me to feel good about my accomplishments, and not get bogged down trying to strive for perfection that was too far off. I just had to work on making it a little bit better each time.

I don't see him anymore, but I still appreciate the lessons he offered to me, and I'll never forget the style in which he offered them. And I still draw everyday.

I think it's important to find a mentor that's willing to be patient, and offer advice without bias or ego, especially in something so personal as drawing, because the wrong kind of critique can be painful. It's easy to whip that joy of drawing into a straight line, which is the complete opposite of what someone who wants to create art is trying
Doodle Dude, says, "Loosen up."
Doodle Dude, says, "Loosen up."
to accomplish. It should be a joyous experience that is nurtured as slow as it needs to go. There's no schedule to beauty.

For more on this, read I Wish I Could Draw, which is an article I wrote highlighting a number of the aspects needed for you to get your head in the right frame of mind for drawing. It's a broad spectrum of information, and muchy of it can be applied to learning just about anything creative. So, if you're curious, please stop on by.

Thanks for reading.

Woman in Profile
Woman In Profile

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