Thanks for setting me straight (In-the-Round)

Thanks for setting me straight (In-the-Round)

Artwork and story by Ray Grace, Drawing Academy Graduate

Thanks for setting me straight (In the Round).

Having drawn and painted from childhood, I have always loved artwork, however like many young people, I opted for a profession instead of going to art school. However, becoming an engineer didn’t cool my love of art. I carried a sketchbook most of the time, and did many pen and Ink sketches, along with a few watercolors over the years, mostly on vacations, for relaxation. Actually I still have a number of these done on-site in Europe and the Middle East. But my passion was not landscape, it was portrait and figurative art, which was difficult as I traveled, working long hours in construction management in several different nations as well as in the US.

After retiring from overseas work in 1995, I began working seriously toward portrait art, although I also worked local engineering projects part time, and served a four year term as County Commissioner. After that, my time was increasingly used up as I eventually became care-giver for my wife until she passed away last year. Since then I have written a book on the subject of the grief of losing a spouse, including the artwork and cover design.

Somehow, during those years, I became proficient in drawing portraits from photographs. I have even sold portraits. After recovering from my bereavement somewhat, I determined to get back into artwork, as I had not done anything for the past three years, it was while looking for an art course to ‘get my hand back’, when I ran across the Drawing Academy. I immediately understood why drawing only from photos was a losing road, as I had always wanted to do figurative scenes, and could not come up with a competent sketch. I had even gotten to the point of considering hiring some models to clothe and staging for a photo, so I could accomplish it. In my frustration I realized my ability to create had been severely hampered by drawing exclusively from photos for the past ten to fifteen years.

Artwork and story by Ray Grace, Drawing Academy Graduate

Then, as I watched Vladimir’s videos about why we needed to draw by what we knew from study, not what we measured on a photo, and looked through the lessons, I simply knew I had to take the Drawing Academy course as soon as possible. I’m also very thankful it’s a ‘life-time’ course, as interruptions don’t always allow us to keep a schedule. Besides, learning art is a lifetime assignment!

I want to thank you so much for what the Art Academy has done, is doing, and I know will continue doing in my artwork. In some ways I feel like a beginner again, but at least this time I know I am beginning in a right direction. I have the Hogarth book, “Drawing the Human Head” and have studied it enough to know some things about head construction, but it didn’t teach me to draw ‘in the round’.

Now, I’m learning to measure with the pencil and draw ‘in the round’. I’ve known about drawing this way, and used it in landscapes, especially buildings, but all the hundreds of dollars’ worth of books I bought had never taught nor challenged me to learn to draw this way. All my books on drawing showed drawing results, with very little how-to, or what not-to information. Drawing Academy teaches both.

Following Vladimir’s directions to another student, I am not currently concentrating on perfecting proper pencil cross-hatching (which will come later), but instead concentrating on learning drawing ‘wire-figures’ and ‘in the round’, by measuring with a pencil, and it is working. I’m learning to do it!

So, I’m currently in a self-imposed no man’s land, not yet having perfected the new method, but neither wanting to backslide to the older copy machine method anymore. This middle ground makes me somewhat frustrated at present, yet I know I will be so much better when I cross that divide. I am waiting, if somewhat impatiently. At least my seventy seven years have made me understand I am the only one who can get myself across that divide, so I just keep working. That’s an interesting fact about being older, I have less time left than a younger man, but I also know there are no shortcuts.

Also, I loved Natalie’s use of old pens for pencil extenders, as shown in the ‘Sketching the Old Masters’ video. I had ordered three extenders when I began the class, but never really got comfortable with them. I immediately made one like she did and love its weightless and effortless extension of the pencil. I had also tried my Pentel-Brand ‘Click’ eraser tube without its eraser, and it works perfectly as a pencil extender for those who may want a purchased product, or don’t trust themselves to cut up an old pan with a sharp knife. They may have to trim the back end of the pencil a little, but Natalie did that as well. A big thank you to her, as well!

As for recommending the Drawing Academy, I already have done so, and will continue to advise any and all who are studying art to enroll.

Again, I thank you very much, Drawing Academy has changed my artistic life. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?


Ray Grace

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Categorized: Drawing Academy Reviews , Students Gallery

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Denise Stoker says:


    I am just starting the course and am so inspired by what you wrote and by your drawing. I too was a professional in a field other than art and recently gave it all up to pursue my dream of making a living as an artist. I am always looking for stories and successes of those that are self taught, especially artists that have a lot of life experience. Keep up the good work and please submit more pieces for review!

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