Learning to draw progress – weeks 16-23

Summary of my drawing practice for weeks 16 through 23

This period of my drawing practice, which spans most of February and March, has been almost completely devoted to learning figure drawing. Since my last update I completed all of the modules of Brent Eviston’s Gesture drawing course, and began his follow-up course which covers volumetric drawing. The volumetric course started out well for me, but it soon became clear that I have real trouble visualizing 3D volumes in my mind. I did fairly well drawing the basic volumetric shapes on their own when I had a clear physical model (like an egg with the ribcage form drawn on it), but once I tried to see the forms in the figure, everything just fell apart. I have particular trouble visualizing what’s going on with the upper torso and neck, and with the pelvis. So I’ve put that course on hold for the time being and am re-doing the Gesture basics course.

It was somewhere mid February that I discovered the Love Life Drawing YouTube channel, where there are also some really great instructional videos that I’ve found helpful. The main teacher is Kenzo, who is helped by his mom Mayko (isn’t that adorable?) who is a really accomplished artist. Kenzo is accomplished in his own right, but he began his figure drawing journey quite recently compared to his mom, so he is able to apply the perspective of a learner to their tutorials. The tutorials are to the point and focused on teaching one thing at a time. I really like their teaching approach and the way they generally format their videos. They don’t try to be overly entertaining, that is, they don’t add a bunch of supposedly engaging (but ultimately time-wasting) jokes and random chatter, which is something that so many art channels on Youtube are guilty of. Love Life Drawing’s videos are to the point and give you actionable advice and guidance, usually about a specific aspect of figure drawing skills. So you finish their videos eager to put the advice into practice.

My updates here have been a lot less frequent, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still working behind the scenes. In fact, if I have to choose between writing an update and getting my practice in for the day, the practice will win every time. So far, since I started this journey officially on Oct 25, 2021, I can count the days of missed practice on one hand. Some days all I can squeeze in is 15 minutes of something basic like circles, lines and ellipses, but at least that’s something.

It’s become clear that there are three things that have helped me stick with this most of all:

  1. Creating a solid practice habit
  2. Learning to tolerate frustration and uncertainty, and just keep practicing
  3. Accepting that sometimes I will feel like my skills are getting worse (they usually get better after a down period).

Without those three things, I’m sure I would have given up ages ago. I don’t have a lot of photos prepared to post today, but I think the one below pretty much sums up my past two months of progress. The drawing on the left represents my best effort at drawing a figure on 24 Jan, and the one on the right is my best effort from 28 March after about two months of practice. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be, but even my own harsh inner critic has to admit that I’m making progress.

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