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How to see if I’m growing as an artist?

How to see if I’m growing as an artist?

Questions from David, Drawing Academy student

I finally learned how to draw eyes equally, thanks to you videos and hours of practicing. I still need to look at a reference though which in time I’m learning to draw what I know. I want to thank you for you feedback to all my questions, it has really helped me. Now my question is how do I draw hair? Long hair that is flowing. When I don’t know how to draw something I tend to sometimes stop drawing it and move on because I would be afraid to mess up the drawing or I forget the process of how to do it at times. I’m learning not to fear my mistakes when I’m drawing so I make sure to avoid them in future drawings. And how can learn to draw small but detailed. Can redrawing a image from my imagination repeatedly help me see it clearly?

I’m trying color most of my character creations and do colored portraits. What colored pencils do you recommend for that? And I love practicing drawing but I hear a lot of other students like myself say practicing drawing is painful. Painful as in they can’t see to get an eye exactly right, proportions is off or they feel like they’re not improving and so they get discouraged. I sometimes feel that way but what keeps me going, is that I tell myself I will get better and the other thing is that I love expressing my creativity. So I can’t give up. The only option I have is to practice and get better. But if I do get to that where I feel that I will never be able to improve, what should I do?

Many thanks,
David

Answer from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Hi David,

Many thanks for your questions.

In regard to drawing hair, there is a good explanation of this subject in one of the Drawing Academy video lessons, I hope you will get enough info from it.

There are some points to keep in mind when drawing hair:
– treat hair as a three-dimensional object that has volume; as such it will have light, mid-tones and shadows;
– do not attempt to represent every hair as a separate pencil-stroke;
– work from big masses to smaller ones – start from the overall shape and composition and then gradually work towards smaller details like individual curls;
– at the end of rendering tonal values, go for big masses/volumes once again to unite a hairstyle appearance.
– sometimes it is better not to render all hairstyle parts in great details; partly unfinished or suggestive artwork might give much more than perfectly finished drawing that has nothing left to imagination.

Have a look on how the Old Masters handled this topic, you will learn a great deal from Leonardo and Michelangelo drawings, for example.

How to see if I'm growing as an artist

When it comes to drawing from imagination, it is a very important part of creative development. Yes, drawing the same subject numerous times will help. I would suggest to have a clear task in mind you want to achieve every time you start a new drawing from imagination; this way, even if you are drawing the same object, it will help you to progress.

Going for colored portraits adds another layer of complexity. Colors will not improve constructive drawing, proportions or anatomy. I would suggest to concentrate on those topics first. Sometimes, going for a color might slow down your progress. I was told by my art teachers not to draw in red chalks and pencils (sanguine) to begin with. Instead, they advocating learning portrait and figurative drawing in graphite pencil first. When you draw in red medium, all looks a bit better that it is and you tend not to notice some mistakes you do. Seeing no mistakes prevents you from fixing them and progressing.

When you’re skillful enough to draw portraits and human figures in black and white, you may progress to color. Usually, I do not advocate some particular art materials brands, as advising some names you can’t get from your local art supply shop is not correct. Also, it is a very personal thing what materials every artists feels better and likes more. I would suggest to try some pencils and see for yourself how it goes. Any professional range would do the job.

To your creative success,
Vladimir

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