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Drawing, Where To Start?
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Drawing, Where to Start?

Many people may not have the talent to draw things that imitate life believably. Some people may be able to draw decent renditions of objects or things in nature, yet they cannot draw people well. Some people, even though they cannot draw well, will still draw. Other people who cannot draw well will not draw at all.

I came across this situation recently. A client of mine is not good at drawing or nowhere near an artist, but he has the confidence to draw anyway. I love to see that! Having that courage and confidence is another way to communicate your idea. Many people who do not have this confidence miss out on this important fact. Then an employer of mine has many, many great ideas, but he lacks the confidence to draw it out on paper. Therefore, I have to try to interpret what he wants as I am doing concept art for my job. Now I am trying to get him to at least draw a stick figure with the features that he wants in his character designs. Any drawing regardless of the skill level helps in these types of situations. I would encourage anyone to draw out your ideas regardless of your skill level. You never know where that tangible idea can go from there.

Where do I start?

This is really simple. Just pick up a pencil, a piece of paper, and start making marks of whatever comes to mind. Do not worry about the technicalities of the drawing itself. It's important to get the idea down first.

An important note is to be mindful of where your hands are often. Often times when we draw our hands or fingers may smudge the drawing. I always had this problem when I was drawing while growing up. To prevent this, I learned in college, that you can take a blank sheet of paper and put it under your hand or whatever body part will come in contact with the drawing to prevent the smudging.

Here, I don't want to get into the basic skills of drawing because I don't know where I would end up. I could write forever about it. Just to give you an example, when I was a child I started drawing by imitating the things I enjoyed. I started drawing my favorite cartoon characters. From there it spread like wildfire! As I copied the style of various art from different artists, I indirectly learned the basics so that by the time I made it to college, I was familiar with the techniques. I just didn't know the terminology and process of a trained artist.

At this point the main struggle can be if someone is not confident in drawing. If there is a negative mental block of any kind, then it will be quite difficult for this person to get anything done. Beforehand, this mental block must be taken care of in some way. In any case; a good parent, teacher, friend, or even a stranger would do well to positively and assertively encourage the person who wants to draw. Careful suggestions that help the person deal with stress, bad experiences, or whatever the reason, can be very helpful. In the end only that person can decide when to take action.

Refine the drawing

Once all the drawing is done, evaluate it. Figure out what you like, don't like, and want to keep. Then you start to refine the drawing that you like. Often times for professional artists, we start with a simple sketch. A quick drawing that we do in 5-10 seconds, maybe a few minutes. A sketch can be really rough, or it can be really elegant. It depends upon what kind of person you are. Next, the artist takes that sketch and cleans it up. When the artist starts there may be contour lines that are clear mistakes. As the drawing is refined, of course these mistakes are left out.

The most basic way that artists may clean up their work is to trace over the initial sketch. When I was first learning my craft in college, I thought this is cheating! That was the ego and other peoples' expectations that I had experienced speaking to me. Later on, I realized the value in this method. The second method of course, is to refine the sketch freehand, or without tracing. It may not be easy in terms of accuracy, but a really talented artist can indeed pull it off. Some artist even draw it all out roughly, check over it when they're done, and erase those bad marks. With this approach you must be careful in that you sketch lightly. If the marks are made really hard it will be almost impossible to remove them completely without someone noticing. Depending upon the media you're using there could also be more approaches to this.

Finishing Up

When you have finished your drawing it is a good idea to use fixative spray to help prevent further smudging.

At this final stage, it really depends upon the final output. If this is going to be an illustration then you could be finished. After you apply the fixative spray, the art can be framed for display! If this is going to be colored then you have more options. If this needs to be digitized there are even more options.

In general we know the final output before we even start. Still as I draw I love to give myself options later. Just in case something comes up and I need to change something, so when I draw, once I finish the drawing I have gotten into the habit of scanning it into my computer for storage later. I cannot emphasize enough how this process preserved many of my drawings from childhood. I drew the most when I was a kid and going through college. One day when I came home and was looking through my old stuff, I found that my drawings from my childhood where decaying. That's because of the type of paper that normal paper is made with. I quickly spent a whole weekend scanning these old drawings into a computer and then I threw away the decaying drawings. Artists go to art supply stores, such as Micheal's, to buy paper supplies that last longer. Still it's a great idea to also have your drawings either scanned into a computer or photographed so that you have a record of them.

If you want to learn more about the basics of drawing, then you can most often learn this from any art class offered in high school or any book that goes over the basics of drawing. These are things that describe the type of lines you make. They go into detail about shading, use of space, etc. Books are also a great source, but I don't want to recommend any certain books per say because every individual artist will have his or her style that speaks to them. That said, not just any book works for them. When you get to college and take art classes, they are very good at picking out books that cover the basics. As you advance in your skills you will reach a point where you discover your style. There are different books that get into that. Just make every effort to keep drawing! As I am working now, I am trying to keep up my drawing as well. It's tough though.

Again, I would like to encourage everyone who does not consider themselves good at drawing to draw anyway. You never know where it can take you!


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