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On a scale from one to ten how good am I at drawing?

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narwhals14

Which one's your favorite?

narwhals14

Bump! hehehehe

Manupix

I'll skip the questions and go directly to advice, if you don't mind.

  • serious mode on *

You are making the common yet mistaken assumption that you can draw from your head: not so (no one can, nor should). You can only draw from life. There are lots of reasons, involving how the eye and brain work (or not). If you're serious with this, you must be sketching daily, anything, anywhere, from life (not even from photos, although studying - or making photos is useful too). Everything around you will do, no need to go fancy: objects in your house, friends, the view from your window. Doesn't have to be nice. Does have to be daily. You're training your eye first here, also your hand. Go!

Make a 365 blog to help motivate you: publicly announce you'll be posting a sketch a day no matter what (YIKES!!!) and JUST DO IT!

narwhals14

Narwhal's Doodle a Day! I like it......

narwhals14

And thanks for the advice. Those are words to live by.......you should make your own blog!

Xaijin

Hehe well honestly these drawings aren't bad. You have potential if you would practice enough

Gar0
Gar0 profile pic Alumni
Manupix said:

I'll skip the questions and go directly to advice, if you don't mind.

  • serious mode on *

You are making the common yet mistaken assumption that you can draw from your head: not so (no one can, nor should). You can only draw from life.

Manupix, you're making the mistake of assuming there is one correct way to draw. There is no law that says you can't draw from memory. If you're looking to make photorealistic depictions of figures then by all means study the effect of light on volume. However, reality doesn't equate to all there is to drawing. None of my favourite drawings depict real things.

It all depends on what it is you want your drawings to convey. If you want to draw scientific representations of plants or people then you have to acquire knowledge of light and volume. If you want to convey the effect of memory on learning or emotions, then drawing from memory would be a good place to go to.

Rachel Ray Gun
Rachel Ray Gun profile pic Alumni

I think at that age, it's important to learn how to draw from life to nail down skills on the basics, then go on to start bending the rules and develop a unique style (that isn't necessarily realistic or "from life".) It's just a good way to grow.

quick-brown-fox
quick-brown-fox profile pic Alumni
2 designs submitted - Score now!

I remember when I was 14 all I did was draw. Draw anything, no matter how mundane. I used to find things outside and take them home to draw them. When I say anything, I mean anything. From crushed coke cans, to pine cones, to dead animals.

Gar0
Gar0 profile pic Alumni

Rachel, what do you mean by basics? What are these rules to mark making that can be bent? It's bad learning to think that realism is the starting point of drawing, imo. At 14 you should be encouraged to carry on thinking, and questioning like a child without bias towards some prescribed notion of excellence.

Gar0
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Rachel Ray Gun said:

It's just a good way to grow.

Here in lies the issue. You're assuming that realism is the ultimate goal of drawing, that you start off bad at drawing, because of youth and inexperience. You're only valuing something you can observe. That's only one side of drawing - it's the dominant side of drawing because realism is so easy to comprehend, but it's still only half the story.

Musarter
Musarter profile pic Alumni

I remember when I was 14 all I did was draw. Draw anything, no matter how mundane. I used to find things outside and take them home to draw them. When I say anything, I mean anything. From crushed coke cans, to pine cones, to dead animals.

^This. At that age the best thing to do is draw as much as possible. Don't expect to be amazing immediately. While there is some innate ability in most exceptional artists, their is a lot of work and practice involved too. Do expect quantity time and trial /error to become a better artist.

Most importantly, you need to see like an artists. Your hands can only do so much. Practicing with found objects (or with art styles you like) will help you to perceive things differently so you can effectively draw what is in your mind. Keep learning and keep drawing while you have time; you are in a great place and can only get better if you keep at it.

briancook
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Rachel Ray Gun said:

I think at that age, it's important to learn how to draw from life to nail down skills on the basics, then go on to start bending the rules and develop a unique style (that isn't necessarily realistic or "from life".) It's just a good way to grow.

I totally agree and I am a certified art teacher that teaches students at your age.

You cannot skip drawing from observation. Your brain pulls from SOMETHING when you are drawing and if you don't learn how to draw from reality than your brain will pull from symbol type drawings we do in elementary school.

If you learn how to draw realistically you can bend the rules as much as you want, but I'm a HUGE believer in basics first.

briancook
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Gar0 said:

Rachel, what do you mean by basics? What are these rules to mark making that can be bent? It's bad learning to think that realism is the starting point of drawing, imo. At 14 you should be encouraged to carry on thinking, and questioning like a child without bias towards some prescribed notion of excellence.

In theory this would work - however realistically it is almost impossible. Here's the problem with that line of thinking. As our brain develops we become very self conscious of what we draw and how we represent it. If student's continue on experimenting on their own they just start to copy their peers. They need to be pushed a little bit to move PAST stick figures or most people will stop at that stage of representation. How many adults do you know that are convinced with the whole fiber of their being that "the best thing they can draw is a stick figure". If people didn't care about what people perceived of them they might be able to develop an interesting drawing style outside the norm. But when left to their own developmental devices artistically it has been shown that people just start to conform to the most basic of representation...when art become just a series of learned steps, not a progression.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but as a fairly successful artist, illustrator and cartoonist (who does not draw realism 99% of the time) I can say that my art has progressed to a level far beyond it ever would have if I had not learned the basics or drawing, composition, perspective, anatomy, and observation.

I believe you need to be a strong observer of the world in order to represent it in art, and I think they best way to do this is start with observational drawing.

Manupix

Gar0, you don't understand my point here (or I didn't make it clear).

I'm not at all implying that realism is correct or better. What I'm saying is, one must understand how perception and memory work, and differ from a recording of reality, before one can make any decision to pursue one artistic way or another. The best way I know is to draw from reality, to confront this hard fact, at least until one understands the extent of this difference (in fact a chasm), by temporarily by-passing, even un-learning memory.

Beyond that, I'd also tend to think that whatever artistic direction is pursued, a good solid foundation and informed memory can't do harm, but I don't have the experience to back it up so I accept this point might be debatable.

Gar0
Gar0 profile pic Alumni

Self-consciousness comes from exactly that point I'm making about an ideal standard of representational drawing - the expectation in Western schools is that you're bad at drawing when you start when compared to the teacher, who in turn is inferior to a master like Dürer. Kids draw stick figures when they start drawing, why? Probably because a line is the easiest form to create as a representational mark. So the train of art school thought is that we want to represent the world as it is, and therefore need to develop control of light and volume - fine, no issue there - that's one side of drawing. But what about the Chinese appreciation of line? There's no following of Western principles of drawing, but would you dismiss their appreciation of line as inferior?

The expectation from art tutoring at school level is that figurative drawing is the ideal when there is no such ideal - drawing is not a tool, or a utility with rules. It has no system. How do you define drawing at your school? As soon as you mention rules and basic principles you reduce the form to a system, but a system is definable with ins, flows and outs, drawing does not have those characteristics.

There is a very strong drawing exhibition near my home town at the moment, and I doubt anyone here with a conventional appreciation of the term would recognise any of the forms shown - it takes a conceptual leap of faith to let go of a 500 year old tradition and I don't expect anyone to agree with me or the curators of exhibitions that are questioning what drawing is or what it can be. But one thing that is clear to me is the distinction between drawing and other creative disciplines.

For instance, typography is a tool with a defined purpose, and thus has rules which when learned can be broken in interesting and informed ways. Drawing doesn't fall into this category, because it's form is constantly changing. You no more need to learn observational drawing than you need to learn how to paint to be an artist - but art isn't the question here. Drawing is distinct from art. It shares one aspect with art in that unlike say graphic design you can take an art sign out of it's context and it remains art. Take a graphic design artefact out of it's context and it ceases to have purpose.

You're right in saying practice of observational drawing helps develop the skills you mention - and to be a master of volume and light you need to practice a set of craft based skills. But defining drawing by craft, or by utility alone doesn't acknowledge either global history of line or current thinking on what drawing is.

briancook
briancook profile pic Alumni

I'm not arguing that there is a right or a wrong way of drawing. I think all drawing practices are helping to develop style - I myself spent much time as a child simply copying cartoons.

I think it also comes down to what your definition of art is (which is impossible for anyone to agree on) - I don't think that "good" art needs to be representational, but I DO think that it needs convey a message. Obviously when we start drawing we start by representing the world in easy to create symbols - I feel that my job as an art teacher is get get students to broaden their horizons and move past symbol drawing. Drawing from observation is challenging, but a valid type of drawing that I feel will strengthen an artists' ability not only in skill but also in observational skill. Observational skill is important for ANY kind of art, even if it is not - I'm not trying to teach what is good - but give students experience which they can draw from later. If they choose to deviate from traditional drawing methods that GREAT - but I think they need to still learn them.

Here's my question to you Gar0 - from your perspective (since I teach art) - if you were in charge of instructing students in a drawing class at the middle school level - what would your projects look like?

And I don't mean that to be condescending - I'm very interested as it is something that I struggle with. How do I (as an art teacher) foster growth of drawing skill, without some basic experimentation with drawing techniques (including drawing from observation).

There's a guy that I know who's working on a book called "Mythic Drawing" which is all about drawing completely from imagination - he has a FB page for it now, you should check it out!

briancook
briancook profile pic Alumni

But to go back to Narwhals14's question:

It all depends on what kind of scale you want to be measured on? How good are you in terms of drawing development for your age? Held to what standard? Do you want to know how good you are compared to the entire history of art? Cause most of use pretty much suck compared to that standard.

I think the fact of the matter is that the one thing we can agree on is that you will only get better at drawing by doing more of it! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! To some extent it doesn't matter how good you are, only what level you want to get to. Set some goals for yourself - and set up a structure to push yourself (like doing a doodle-a-day) - and see how you progress.

Gar0
Gar0 profile pic Alumni

What would my class be like? Well, purely hypothetically since I don't have experience of those students, I'd try and foster an understanding of the role of point & line at a global historical level. Western perspective on drawing being one element of many. Visual literacy (observational skill) is the key concept to develop - 100% agreed. Visual literacy starts with point, line & plane. I'd get them to experiment with formal exercises that made them think harder about something they possibly take for granted, but in reality probably don't know that much about - unlearn what they had learned up to that point the purpose of which would be to consider the relationship between form and content. I can't remember who made the comment that photography represents reality and drawing represents ideas, but it's a good way of getting the message across that since the camera, fine art, illustration and drawing as disciplines was freed from the preoccupation of representation.

narwhals14

This has gotten out of control :P

narwhals14

Thanks for all the advice you guys gave to me :D

TheDesktopZombie

blind contours...they help to recognize negative space...sketch a day is awesome idea as well...You are definable talented and can only improve...good work and best of luck.

TheDesktopZombie

darn spell check definable= definitely

narwhals14

Thank you TDZ!

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