Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Artistic Confidence and Repeatable Success | How to Draw

Wouldn’t it be nice to skip the difficult stages of first learning how to draw? Those face-palm moments when you make a mistake might come more often than not at the beginning, and it’s humbling to struggle. But those challenges are good for the mind and, in my humble opinion, good for the soul. It’s how we continue to grow as individuals and as a culture. I’ll admit that at 39 years old, I’m not always tempted to learn a new technique, for example, because a stubborn part of me momentarily tries to give reason to just stay at the cozy, comfortable level I’m at. But fortunately, my more ambitious side pushes that voice away and the next thing you know, I’m opening my mind and thinking in new ways. It feels good.

Be stubborn against the things that hold you back. Doing so will only bring you good things, including improved art. Alain Picard is here to tell you more about how to draw and the artistic habits that are proven to bring success. ~Cherie

Drawing advice | Alain Picard,

Click here for the exclusive “Drawing Lessons with Alain Picard” collection, featuring four of Alain’s video workshops: Learn to Draw with Alain Picard: Basics, Flowers, Landscapes and Portraits; his book: ‘Beginning Drawing;’ and a bonus digital download on drawing tools!

Sow a Habit, Reap a Harvest | How to Draw
(Concepts from the following are based on the book Beginning Drawing by Alain Picard)

Drawing advice | Alain Picard,

‘For My Love’ (charcoal and white chalk on buff paper) I created this life study of my wife, Mirjam, during a weekly portrait group I attended. On our anniversary in 2005, Mirjam sat for the group that night so we could be together.

Drawing is the foundation of all painting, thus great care should be taken to sow the seeds of good working habits. Doing so is a tremendous investment in your artistic development; you’ll reap rewards for the remainder of your artistic journey. I’ve certainly found this to be true in my own creative development, and I want to encourage you to establish deliberate working habits in your day-to-day and week-to-week drawing routine that foster artistic growth.

In my new book, Beginning Drawing, and the corresponding series of “Learning to Draw with Alain Picard” videos produced with ArtistsNetworkTV, I reveal and expound on the visual, drawing and routine habits that are necessary to communicate effectively with the language of drawing. Visual habits have to do with learning to “see” as artists, while drawing habits deal with how we transcribe what we see through a variety of mark-making techniques. Finally, routine habits embed these repeatable practices into your drawing approach and develop the discipline of regular working habits. The outcome of this disciplined approach is artistic confidence and repeatable success.

While it’s important to establish a consistent drawing routine, it’s equally important to develop what I call “routine habits” that will serve to encourage your working routine. I want to share some ideas with you from Beginning Drawing that will help you develop your working routine. I believe that if you implement them into your regular work rhythms, then your drawing ability is sure to grow in leaps and bounds, and your creative voice will begin to speak volumes in no time!

Drawing advice | Alain Picard,

Above, left: ‘After Drolling’ (graphite on Strathmore paper). I created this copy study years ago after the self-portrait done in 1804 by French artist, Michel Martin Drolling.
Above, right: A small sketchbook study done from life during the planning and inspiration stages for a painting called ‘The Bride.’

How to Draw: 4 Habits to Develop

1. Practice, practice, practice! You’ve got to prioritize the goal of learning how to draw. Get out your calendar and schedule regular time to draw. Make it a priority, and build it into your routine, just like exercise or daily meals. Skill develops through consistent practice! Carve out the time to draw regularly every week. Start early rather than late, and try doing one sketch a day–every day–for a month.

2. Draw from life regularly. Drawing from direct observation of nature is one of the very best ways to improve. Carry a sketchbook and a pencil pouch with you so you can sketch anywhere you go.

3. Get feedback & encouragement. Why not connect with other artists in your area? Consider joining a local weekly life-drawing sketch group to develop a consistent habit of working from life. Your connection with other working artists will provide accountability and encouragement in the development of your work.

4. Copy the masters. One of the best ways to learn technique is to study the great drawings and paintings of art history. Choose a drawing that you absolutely love and try to copy it, stroke for stroke, tone for tone. This process of imitation will impart volumes of drawing wisdom to you as you seek to understand how the artist accomplished such a beautiful study. ~Alain

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