Don’t get too excited, this is insight from the first one I just experienced.
Via Zoom, this workshop hosted by a well-known local artist, after reading the email I thought “this sounds fun, Google rsvp pls”, boy did I rsvp….to a lot of head shaking and eye rolling by yours truly lmao. Turns out this wasn’t even a workshop, it was more of a promotional event for the artist, I don’t know, but I think we all noticed it was far too late to get the heck out of dodge. They muted our mics the entire time, so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t properly give feedback. It was a bummer, and it being my first workshop to take part in about something I want to take more seriously…shame
But it got me thinking; If I ever hosted one, via zoom or not (in my dreams ofc) It’d go like:
*cue your imagination* I am standing on a big stage, a podium in front of me. Anxiety clawing its way right through me, oh so eager to ruin this moment. Not today, Satan, the thought I have before grabbing the gravel – I mean microphone, to begin.
Everything is hard when you’re a beginner.
Drawings turn out well or they don’t, but you can’t blame the artist, it’s talent that matters, right? Absolutely… not!
You draw because you have an urge to draw. Even though your skills limit you, you don’t want to limit yourself. You’re constantly inspired, and it feels great. If only your hand would listen. Drawing isn’t a single skill. Even though every drawing is made of lines, using similar hand movements, it’s what happens in the brain that matters and the intention, not the result. We use different parts of the brain for different intentions, different purposes. Drawing a landscape may not be about the lines themselves, you should rather focus on the light and shadow, and re-create it on paper with a series of lines. By trying to draw every idea that comes to your mind, you unknowingly make it hard for yourself.
You might even think: I know how to draw it, just let me try.
Instead of trying to mix Latin and Chinese signs and wondering why they mean nothing together, focus on one. Don’t jump from one topic to another.
In most cases, you’ll discover you can tell very little about the object you want to draw. You have this feeling you could draw it with all the details, but you can’t even tell where these details are. The more questions you ask yourself about the object, the better you understand why you fail. You don’t really know what you’re trying to draw. You’re just able to recognize. Sure, you’ll guess the right combination of lines eventually, but for what? Just to prove to yourself you can draw it from imagination, with no help? If this is your goal, fine, pursue it.
To draw something from imagination, you’ll need a unique form of a memory to convert it into lines. The mind-photo is something like this: four legs attached to a body, long neck, long head, long, hairy tail, hooves. This is all the information you need to recognize a drawing of a horse, but it’s not enough to draw it realistically. The mind-photo is much more detailed. It contains the proportions between legs and torso, defines where the leg bends exactly, and specifies the joint there is in that point of bending. It doesn’t just tell you that the body of a horse is covered with hair; it defines the direction of the hairs.
Say, you’re sketching this dragon and every couple of minutes you stumble over some problem. These problems accumulate, but you keep going. When you add the colors, nobody will notice something’s wrong.
This is what I’m most guilty for.
Basically, it’s trying to decorate something broken. Even if it looked promising at the beginning, obviously it’s wrong now. If you can see your picture’s going wrong, stop. No matter how much time you’ve already invested, there’s still some time you can save if you stop now. It often takes less effort to create something anew than to fix it over and over. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to draw anything so cool ever again, it reveals a bigger problem than that wrongly bent leg. You’re not confident about your skills, which means you should practice before investing hours into one picture. It’s understandable that you want to show others how good you are, but for now, you aren’t. Don’t hide that truth by pretending you haven’t made a mistake.
You finish not only every drawing you start. You also always remember to post it to social media, for your friends and *followers* to see. No matter what it is you share everything, that’s just how everyone rolls these days. On the surface, it seems pretty harmless, but the problem lies deeper. When you know that the drawing you’re working on will be seen by someone, you automatically try to adjust it to their needs. I can’t stress this enough. Draw for yourself. Learn to feel comfortable with the thought that others can see your mistakes. Embrace your imperfection and let yourself be bad.
It’s natural you want to create what they want to see, the problem occurs when this need becomes pathological, you can’t create anything new in fear it will not be received positively. You become a slave to your followers. Your needs don’t matter, your job is to please them. In return, you get praise, but wouldn’t it be nicer to get praise for something you’ve chosen to draw yourself? Follow your heart! If you like drawing ponies, do it! If you want people to take a liking to your art, not the style/topic you use, you must do your thing. I understand fan art is a great method to bring attention, but it’s not the only way I keep the public interested, I draw all kinds of things and I don’t care if it doesn’t get the attention I thought it would, what matters is I created something on paper the moment I felt that buzz of inspiration.
Someone once told me they had many ideas but could not start any kind of drawing, so they bypassed the problem by using line art and bases offered by other artists.
In short; tracing.
This will not take you anywhere. I explained to them, arranging your house isn’t the same as building it, and you can’t call yourself a builder just because you put a sofa in the living room. Similarly, with finishing someone else’s artwork, and it’s not only about the definitions. The people who created the line art for you had to learn it first. You can do it too. When you trace and use bases, but you pretend you don’t. That’s like taking a bus to the finishing line of a race. Even when everyone praises you, the truth doesn’t change. You can’t draw, no matter how good your pictures seem to be. To improve, do what is hard. If it’s hard, it means you can’t do it yet, so if you make it easy, it will mean you are better. You can fantasize about how talent makes everything easy and justify your actions this way, but it’s all about your laziness. People spend hours every day trying to learn how to draw. If you want to be good at it, change your mindset and start working hard. If you only want to be praised, even because of false reasons, then… why are you even amongst my audience right now? (🤣)
When someone says “You can’t draw”, it’s their opinion. It doesn’t mean you can’t draw according to some standard, only that this person doesn’t think highly of your skills. Their opinion doesn’t change the truth. Humans simplify everything to think and react faster. Fact is something that everyone agrees on, but “everyone” may be simplified to “everyone I ask”. Then, if you ask ten people, each of them has the power to create a “fact” by stating their opinion. When you take it that way, every opinion you hear is perilous. Let the opinions be what they are, statements of personal feelings. Everyone has a right to not like your art, someone says your picture is bad? Fine! They’re just as right as someone who says it’s good. We separate things from other things by creating definitions for them. If something doesn’t meet its definition, it is an abnormal version of this thing, or simply not this thing. If you see a horse with wings, it’s not a horse. But a horse with its knees bent the other way is still a horse, just an abnormal one.
If you want to be better at this whole drawing thing, you need to be more open to critique. These are only words about your artwork, nothing more. You can ignore them or use them to improve. If someone left a negative comment, ask that person why do they feel that way? And what can you do to make your next attempt better?
Drawing is deceptively simple, and our misconceptions about it can easily become an obstacle for our improvement.
Thank you and goodnight 😘