Wednesday, December 13, 2017



Friday, January 13, 2017


In art is very common as you learn more to have the impression that you know less and it is much more, ahead to learn. Art needs a lot of practice and experience earned in front of the easel. Though all artists learned all their creative life, and this is exactly the beauty of art: you never stop learning and discovering new things, while challenging yourself to become better. It is a transformative experience, for your art and for yourself as well. Here are a few things I think would be useful for you to apply when you practice drawing.
1. Discipline is a must when you practice drawing. It is easy to give up when other things seem more important and need your urgent attention. Arm with patience, the time will come to practice, just don't give up at first obstacles. Even if you don't get to work as much as you want, it is important to follow a strict schedule and to establish a certain routine, for example ten minutes of practice every morning or every evening, can get you much further, than practicing nothing for a week. If you skip one or two days, just remember to go back to your routine as soon as you can. Distractions like telephone and internet should be avoided. Switch off you modem when it's time for practice. In my art studio I have no internet connection and no other distractions. I am alone with my easel, and this is the best way I can work. 2. Setting up goals too high and too soon is a common mistake. This will only make everything more frustrating, or even make you want to quit when you'll realize your drawings are not up to your expectations. The truth is that everyone can learn drawing, but you need patience and you need to be gentle with yourself. Don't forget that all great artists were once beginners. Stressing about reaching your goals, can only make you nervous and hinder your evolution. Enjoy the process and relax, with every drawing and sketch you make, you definitely improve, even if you don't feel it immediately. All the work will pay off in the end. 3. Positive attitude is a must when you learn. If you think that you are good enough, you have much more chances to succeed and to evolve than constantly worrying about your skills and not succeeding. I will give you an example. Last year I had in my class a girl who seemed very unsecured, her hand seemed to tremble while she was drawing. I approached the girl and I talked to her about the importance of positive attitude in learning drawing. Two months later when we started painting after the general introduction to drawing, I remarked a girl who was painting freely in beautiful bold strokes. I curiously asked her if she learned painting somewhere else, and for how long she has been painting. She smiled and reminded me that she was a complete beginner only about two months before when I gave a lecture about good attitude.
4. When you practice, making many sketches can be more effective than working on one single drawing for hours. Make as many sketches as you can, without worrying about their quality too much. When you finish, compare and analyze to see how you evolved.
5. Comparing yourself with others and putting yourself down will not get you anywhere. Observe your evolution while you are in the process of learning and have a look at your first drawings to see where you started. There will always be artists who seem better or colleagues who seem to achieve more faster, though we are all good and unique in our own way. I am always pleasantly surprised to see how different the works of my students are. All are beautiful in their unique way. 6. Repetition is the mother of learning drawing too. When you practice portrait with a model for example, do as many sketches you can, and more sketches with the same pose. I know it can be very boring trying the exact same pose more times, but it works wonders. Especially if you seem out of place working with a model, sketching the exact same pose more times is the best solution. Try it and let me know how it went. You don't need a professional model to practice. Maybe a member of your family can sit for you while watching TV, working on a laptop or reading. 7. Worrying too much about acquiring a certain style, you need you should have, is not the best option when you practice drawing. You already have your very unique style, you have just to work without thinking about it, and one day you will realize that all the work you have done had a style, your own. Artist Kent Williams said: "Style (I hate the word really, used in the context of art) is not something one chooses and places upon oneself. Style, or one's artistic language is something that comes about as a by product of sincere effort and sweat equity in the pursuit of something better than you are capable of doing. I hear so often from students about wanting to 'find a style'. But in so many cases these students are not willing to put in what it takes for this to happen – to put in and discover the passion for observation, for drawing, for looking outside of their insular world. To feed and nourish the passion that will ultimately lead to a personal language. They think they can kind of just step in and choose a style. The pursuit shouldn't be to find a style, but to look, to discover, to soak in, and then to transcribe as best you can. And through this most simple and complex WORK, one's look, or language, or style, will develop on it's own."

Here is some practical advice from Vladimir London from his book 
"How to Draw a Portrait: The step-by-step guide on how to draw portraits in the three-quarters view" .

- Do not work with a blunt pencil tip. Make sure it is well-sharpened with a pencil knife or a scalpel. Pencil sharpeners are only good for small children (for a safety reasons). 
- Do not use the darkest tone a pencil can provide from the beginning; you will run out of the tone very fast and over-render the drawing. 
- Do not draw from one corner of the paper, inch by inch. This approach is only good for pen and ink technique, to avoid smearing wet ink by hand. Work on the entire drawing simultaneously.
- There is a misconception that tonal rendering should be done with the darkest tone a pencil can provide and gradate to the lightest value of untouched paper. It is not about how much you can get out of a pencil. It is all about the right balance between tones.
- Do not render to the finished state one part of the drawing before others. - Do not blend graphite pencil strokes with a paper stump or a finger. This will result in mud. Smudging is only suitable for soft mediums like charcoal or sanguine. YouTube is full of demonstrations by self-taught artists who use this inappropriate technique. Do not pick up this bad habit.
- Do not move a pencil back and forth without lifting it from the paper's surface after each stroke. Such technique is good for children drawings, not for professional artworks.
- Do not be afraid of showing your pencil strokes, even in smooth areas like a cheek. Your pencil stroke style is your unique “handwriting signature.” This is what makes your artworks unique and recognizable. You don’t want your signature to be smeared and hidden.
- Do not apply cross-hatching at a 90-degree angle for skin. Such crosshatching is more applicable for cloth and drapery.
- Do not use the same angle of pencil strokes for all areas of your drawing. Such an approach makes a drawing “flat” and uninteresting. Apply pencil strokes along the contours of objects to reveal their true-to-life form.
- Do not use one kind of pencil stroke for the entire drawing. Expand your gamut of strokes by varying their length, angles, pressure, and curvature. This will make an artwork more “alive,” vibrant, and interesting to look at. Do not overdo the gamut for the sake of it.

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