So You Think You Can Draw?

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher

“Practice makes perfect” is something we have been told at least once in our life. While it is true, we all know there is more to the story than that. We have to understand the thing that we are practising. You can bounce around in a dance studio for years, but until you understand proper technique you are run the risk of not improving much when it comes to your dancing skills. Though I suppose it depends a lot on what your definition of dancing is. 🙂

When it comes to drawing, in particular photo-realistic drawings, people often start drawing the objects and people around them. During your first few tries you may wonder what the deformed looking blob of lines on your paper has to do with the  lamp that you were trying to draw. But the more you stick to it the more and more your lines start to resemble the objects you are attempting to draw.

What enriches and speeds up this learning process is understanding the objects that you are drawing. If you are drawing humans it is extremely helpful to understand the human anatomy. Things like the muscles shapes, proportions and how each limb move…? Studying human moment and looking at human anatomy drawings can help with that.

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If you are attempting to give your drawings some depth, like in the images above done by the very talented Diego Fazio, you really need to understand how light works. You have to understand how light reflects and interacts on/through surfaces, how/where shadows are cast, and what visual qualities differentiates textures from each other. This may require a bit more research.

Leonardo Pereznieto has a series of tutorial videos on his youtube channel FineArtEBooks that does an excellent job explaining the theory behind drawing techniques while showing you how to achieve the desired effect. In his How to Draw a Water Drop Step by Step he explaining how light reacts with water and what techniques can help you achieve the illusion.

His channel has videos under 6 categories:

  • Uploaded videos 
  • People and Body Parts Tutorials
  • Tutorials with Textures and  Effects
  • Animals
  • Painting Tutorials
  • Art and Culture

There is a wealth of information in his videos and it is well worth your time to go through them. Keep in mind though that there are many different technetium and schools of thought methods and tools to use. For example Pereznieto encourages smudging with a soft brush where as others discourage smudging all together and suggest you achieve the gradient simply by controlled pressure of the graphite.

This video by TheVirtualInstructor quickly goes through a few different styles and ways to draw. All of them useful in their own way to achieve specific effect and or mood.

So in summary “informed practice makes perfect.”

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