Week 8 summary – learning to draw

Week 8 of my “learn to draw” experiment has come to a close. It’s hard to believe I’ve been at this for two whole months now. This week, I experienced a good deal of frustration. There are some things that are just plain hard and that take time to develop. Even if I can see what I’m supposed to do, it’s as if the pencil (or pen) has a mind of its own. It just won’t go where I want it to go. This week it was straight lines that annoyed me (again).

I had to focus on lines again because I was in lesson 10 of Brent Eviston’s “Art and Science of Drawing” course, titled Form and Space – 3D drawing and perspective.

One thing I really appreciate about Brent’s teaching is that it’s not limited to the nuts and bolts of technical drawing skills. His advice about mindset and pitfalls of thinking to avoid is gold. This is an example of what I mean.

I want you to choose a subject that is challenging, but not so challenging that it’s way beyond your current skill level. Now, I really want you to think about this, while you’re selecting your subject. One of the most common missteps I see when people are learning to draw is that they choose subjects that are far beyond their skill level. This is how bad drawing habits are formed.

Finding subjects that are challenging to you, but not absolutely bewildering is the best way to quickly improve in your drawings. Be patient … if you go to complex form before you’re ready, you will most likely develop bad drawing habits. Once you have bad habits in your drawing process, they’re very difficult to get rid of. – From the project description in the “Organic forms” lesson

I have taken this advice to heart during my focused practice sessions, and stick to the type of subjects he recommends. For my “fun” drawing, I experiment with more complex or difficult subject.

The thing that has me most concerned is the idea of practicing wrong and just reinforcing bad habits. If you are working in real life alongside a teacher, they can give you immediate corrective feedback on everything you do. I can get feedback on my work from Brent, but it happens after the fact. So in theory, I can draw 100 shitty ellipses (essentially practicing bad habits) before I submit my work for feedback.

This means that as I practice, I need to slow down, focus, and be really conscious of what I’m doing.

So in the coming weeks I will try to be extra mindful of what’s going on with my lines. When you are drawing something challenging, there is just so much to focus on…so many details to keep in mind. It’s easy to forget about your lines when you’re focused on getting the basic proportions right, for example.

In any case, here is some of my practice output for week 8.

One of the main objectives of the Form and Space module is practicing drawing simple boxes in 3-point perspective. So I did lots of pages like the one below.

More practice with boxes…

Another lesson was to practice drawing organic forms from different vantage points, just using simple lines (that is, no shading) to indicate their form.I did 5 studies of a courgette and one bell pepper. It may seem weird, but it’s actually quiet enjoyable to draw simple fruits and vegetables!
I got distracted by wanting to draw something more realistic when I did my second courgette, even though we weren’t supposed to do anything but simple lines. I couldn’t help trying anyway. But for the rest of the assignment I stuck to simple lines.

Courgette number 2

Organic forms practice – courgette 4

This angle was very difficult. Foreshortening comes later in the drawing course, but I wanted to try.

paprika bell pepper sketch
Organic forms practice – bell pepper in red pencil

Form and space was so far the most challenging part of the Art and Science of Drawing course. It’s designed to take two weeks to complete, and I am continuing with it for week 9.

One of the other things I worked on was trying to come up with a cute way to draw my dog Hoshi (a Chinese Crested Powderpuff) in a cartoon style. After some sketching I came up with this drawing (done on my ipad in Procreate).

Chinese crested drawing with heart
My Chinese Crested dog Hoshi

All in all I’m happy with my progress in week 8. The key is to remain consistent and stay focused on consistently trying to challenge myself by either learning something new or going back and refining my fundamentals. With that in mind, I’m eager to start week 9.

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