Please comment on my drawings

Artworks by Susan Morin


susan-morin-drawingsGoing back to pencil and paper and using graphics pad

Dear Vladimir,

Would you please comment on my drawings? They are my first from-life drawings in a long time. The second is a drawing with the graphics pad and tracing image software that helps me get the likeness right. Should I stop doing this?

I have been considering myself an artist since I knew the word, though I am self taught and I am an amateur. At 62 I feel young and eager to learn.

Susan Morin

Drawing Critique by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Dear Susan,

Thank you very much for your drawings, and welcome to the Drawing Academy.

I really like your artworks. Your drawing from life has very interesting texture and composition, while the picture of the dog presents a very skilfully done hatching. The attention to details of the dog’s hair is incredible.

The still-life with a lamp and window is very stylish. The composition of this drawing has several golden proportions; I marked them in different colors. Quite likely, you achieved the Golden Ratio intuitively, composing your drawing in such a way that it looks good. And when the composition looks balanced and pleasing to a viewer, there is a good chance that it has divine ratio in it.


There are some points that can be improved; for example, the oval of the lamp-base could be more defined in perspective. It looks like you used a reverse perspective, and the part of the oval that is further away from a viewer is more curved than the closer part. However, this does not make your drawing any weaker; quite the opposite, it brings the foreground closer to the viewer.

You may also consider how this picture might improve if you draw buildings in the window with less contrast. It will create an atmospheric perspective, pushing the landscape farther away, thus creating an illusion of depth in the drawing.

In regard to your question as to whether to draw from life or trace an image, it really depends on what you want to achieve by practicing and learning drawing.

If your goal is to learn how to draw whatever you see, think, or imagine, no tracing will help, as you might envision some beautiful scenes and objects never seen or designed before. You will rely solely on your drawing skills in such a case. And developing drawing skills that will enable you to draw whatever you want can only be done by drawing from life.

I totally agree that tracing a photo is faster, simpler and more accurate, even for a complete beginner. However, if your goal is to become less dependent on photos, then you know the answer. You may gradually increase the proportion of drawings you do from life.

Of course, the decision is yours.

From my personal experience, I have to say that my teachers in the art school, and later in art university, didn’t allow the use of any aids like photos, rulers, compass, gray-scale values, or even a builder’s line. It was going without saying that all those tools must be incorporated in an artist’s eyes and hands.

To your creative success,

Categorized: Critique My Artworks

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Susan says:

    Thank you Vladimir for your critique. It taught me many things that I would not have been aware of. Using the Golden Mean that up to this point I only felt as a dynamic tension. The use of atmospheric perspective. That I was using cross-hatching in the dog. This is the first time I have a teacher to talk to. It is very exciting!

    I am planning some more drawings they may be done on my graphics pad for now. Until I can get my supplies. But they will not be traced!

    Many thanks,

  2. Carol says:

    Love your art. Very appealing to me. Images which I can relate to that I can see gracing my walls that exude a feeling of surrounding me with coziness and joy in my apartment. Art that was obviously drawn by a clear heart and mind who sees as I do the joy in simple things. Thank you for presenting them from a purely art appreciation point of view. I’m not a trained artist in any way. I simply like to cozy my home with images that speak love to me. Your art does.

  3. roos drawing says:

    Thank you for presenting them from a purely art appreciation point of view. I’m not a trained artist in any way. I simply like to cozy my home with images that speak love to me. Your art does.

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