Thursday, May 24, 2012

How that Drawing Things is Going

This post is a continuation of “How I Started Drawing Again,” and so to understand it, you should probably read that first.

To sum up, I used to draw, then I didn’t for a very long time, and then I started to do so again—becoming ever more desirous of creating something, anything, and actually doing that (with improving skill).

By the time I went and got a drawing pad, this was a couple weeks ago, I was getting rather ambitious.

This is routine for me, and not anything new, but in any case before I went to the store I had already figured out how long it would take me to be an expert—assuming that it really does take just 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. (Malcolm Gladwell wouldn’t lie, would he?)

If you’re interested in that breakdown, here it is:

  • At two hours per day, it takes around 14 years.
  • At four hours per day, it takes around 7 years.
  • At eight hours per day, it only takes around 4.5.

Easy enough, right?

Well, if you really want to be "an expert" and have a lot of time to spare, yes, I guess it might be easy enough.

But you know something?

Who cares what title I have? 

I don't. On the way home, in fact, I was wondering why I was even thinking about this.

After all, I have a series of things I want to do, and it doesn't matter whether I'm called a newbie in comparison with others or the god of all things art—so long as I can create what I see in my head as I see it.

Anyway, I got home and ambitious as all get-out I drew . . . a foot.

That’s right, a foot.

What did you expect, the Sistine Chapel?

Here it is in all its glory:


I followed that up a few days later with another foot:

Getting bored yet?

What exactly do you have against feet?

Getting from point A to point B would be very hard without ‘em, right?

Actually, however, I probably know what you’re feeling.

Feet are just fine as transportation, but as a topic for art? There are better things.

So I set my sights higher.

Turns out there’s this guy called Bargue who taught people to draw back when artists were not producing collections of garbage or smears on a canvas—you know, when they produced something deserving of the term art.

What this guy would have students do is to copy what the masters did. And this seemed to me like a good approach—at least for an artist who wants to produce something similar.

For some practice, then, I drew the heads of some sculptures. Here, for example, is one:

Then I did a quick sketch of a drawing by someone who had copied one by Bargue.

“A copy of a copy!” you might have said.

And if so, I’d have responded by saying, “Exactly.”

Given my past flirtations with drawing, I didn’t want to buy the book and then have it arrive at my doorstep after I had already given it up.

(My feelings have since changed and it’s now on my wish list.)

Anyway, rather than continue drawing rough copies of rough copies, I decided to do one better by continuing what I began: making rough copies of originals!

In particular, I drew a copy of the Norman Rockwell painting, "Freedom of Speech." Here's one picture of my zoomed-in and slightly-modified version:

Since graphite doesn't show up as well in any of these pictures--it turns out that that's "a thing" about it--I took a couple more pictures. Here's one looking at it from the side:

And here's another, looking at it from the other side:

For some reason, the side versions look better to me--or more like what I drew looks like when you're staring right at it in person.

In any case, I finished this drawing still rather pleased.

I had been drawing for around three weeks straight. And, contrary to what had happened before, I didn't feel "the bug" leaving. Instead, the urge was getting stronger to create more and more.

I began watching videos on how to draw--and learning about basic stuff that I'm almost embarrassed I didn't know (except that there's no shame in being a beginner at anything, only in remaining a beginner, out of fear, at something you want to get better at).

And I continued to draw, gaining a bit more knowledge each time.

I drew, for example, a portion of a painting I liked by Serge Marshenikov:

...and I drew a photo of Marianne Bresleaur that I randomly came across on the internets:

Do you like this stuff?

Do you want more?

However you feel, more is on its way.

Because after finishing up that last drawing, I started in on writing this post, and right now, after publishing it, I'm set to draw some more.

Come back and look for it if you want.

There are a lot of areas I can improve, so chances are what follows will be better than what I've done thus far.


There are four posts on this same topic now. If you're interested in reading them all, check out the following links.

1. How I Started Drawing Again
2. How That Drawing Thing is Going
3. I'm Starting to Like the Smell of Graphite in the Morning
4. 50 Shades of Graphite

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