Question from Ray Habyan

Question from Ray Habyan

I am currently doing pencil portraits for Gold Star Mothers of their loved ones killed in action in the military. All of my work is done from photos exclusively. I am self taught and have used the 5 pencil method as a learning base. As you have said, this just makes me a copy machine. I really want to put some soul into my drawings, but don’t know how to do this working from a picture. My question is, will you be able to help me achieve this goal by working through your course?

Examples of my work can be seen at //

Best Regards,

Ray Habyan

Feedback from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Hi Ray,

Many thanks for your email and questions.

I checked your website and portraits and have very mixed feelings.

On one hand, I admire your passion for drawing and the choice of subjects for your art. I see that you are striving for accurate artworks and want to achieve great likeness. I also like your persistence and great patience of putting 40 to 60 hours into a work.

On another hand, every portrait you displayed has something artificial. I’m deeply apologizing for such criticism and hope you are strong enough to take it in the right way.

I’m very sorry to hear that your art education is based on the 5 pencil drawing method. Copying from photos does not lead to proficient drawing skills. When it comes to drawing from memory or imagination, these guys are out of water. If you want to get a high grade of art mastery, you will face a tough time of re-learning what the drawing (not copying) actually is.

What I see from your portraits, is that some fundamental drawing principles are missing in your art education, such as linear and aerial perspective, human anatomy, constructive drawing, proportions, composition, and tonal rendering techniques. These subjects are not learned by copying photos, it should be a completely different approach – learning and understanding the theory and then practicing and applying your knowledge by drawing from life, models, memory and imagination.

To answer your question, yes, you will benefit from the Drawing Academy course. There are so much you have to learn that is currently missing in your art skills. In addition, we will have to re-invent you as an artist, the artist, who has a recognizable creative style, who has originality and worthy to be renowned and remembered. Once again, for legal reasons I cannot promise results; it will depend on your burning desire to achieve them.

I want to help you. However the truth is, no one will be able to help but yourself. There’s only one person who can improve your drawing skills – you. And you will have to work hard on it.

All I can do is to provide you with the best guidance and personal advices I can and help you step by step as you go along the Drawing Academy course. My support will be unlimited and will go beyond the 3 month period.

If you decide to become a better artist, here’s the link to enroll »

If you feel that your current achievements are satisfactory to your clients and most importantly to yourself, I wish you all the best in your career.

Kind regards,

Vladimir London
Drawing Academy tutor

P.S. Once again, please accept my apologies for not giving high appraisals to your works. My art teachers never had a soft approach and I am so grateful they instructed me that way. Today, I have skills, not just memories of multiple “nice work” comments.

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This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Ray Habyan says:

    Vladimir, thank you so much for the critique. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I know there is something lacking in my drawings, but no one seems to want to convey that to me. Your honesty is exactly what I am looking for. Every time I ask for opinions all I seem to get are kudos, when I know something is not right. I am going to sign up for your course and do look forward to working with you.


    Ray Habyan

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