Every Drawing is a New Beginning

Without really meaning to, I seem to have embarked on a How-to-Begin-Your-Drawing series.

I spent some time in our last post on technique: making sure our drawing fits on the page and is in correct proportion and scale.

Today, I want to talk about your mental game. It’s so important to remember that learning to draw is a journey and NOT series of masterpieces one after another

I like to remember Dimitri Martin’s great visual breakdown of what success looks like:

by Demetri Martin

All of us here are just beginners compared to the masters that inspired us to draw. We WILL improve as we commit hours to following in their footsteps, but we’ve got to remember it’s an ongoing path with many phases when the going gets rough.

What is a beginning artist to do?

Get away from the idea that every drawing must be a masterpiece.

Remember to set an intention for each drawing you begin. Focus on one element of the drawing which will build your skill set and ability to engage in different ways of seeing the world around you. 

Here are examples of possible intentions you could set for a drawing:

-Create an accurate LINE drawing;
-Focus on shading and VALUES;
-Loosen up in a short, timed warm up series;
-Draw 10-minute studies before beginning a longer drawing
-Look at the page as little as possible. (This can help boost your speed.)

Draw MORE drawings

Spending time erasing and tweaking a single line can make a single drawing take days. Instead, up your pace and use continuous, confident lines as much as possible. We learn more from committing to an unbroken but inaccurately drawn line than a hesitant, feathery, and oft-erased line. 

It can feel soooo yucky to watch your drawing sit there on the page just…wrong. Inaccurate. Not perfect. 

Worst case scenario: you end up with a terrible drawing. The good news is, hey, your drawing is done! You got there faster and with better line quality. Now start a new one and see if it sucks a little less.

I’d like you to consider that any terrible feelings of inadequacy are going to start re-training your brain real fast (we remember our mistakes 3x more than our positive outcomes). It’s a learning curve, which can be bumpy, but the sooner you start the habit of continuous lines, the better! You’ll draw faster and more accurately.


Are you a perfectionist?
This post might sound like kryptonite for the meticulous among us, and easy for fast-drawing sharp-shooters. Comment below with what #number you think you are on a scale of 1- 10, 10 being super-anal perfectionist, 1 being a wham-bam jam things together type?

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