The Best Ways to Learn Drawing

Video by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

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As the Drawing Academy’s tutor, I am often asked, “What is the best way to learn how to draw?

Many art students have erroneous ideas and excuses that prevent them from learning to draw. Such excuses include:

  • I’m too old or young to start learning drawing.
  • I’m not naturally talented enough to succeed at drawing.
  • It is very difficult to learn to draw.
  • I tried it once, and it didn’t work.
  • I was told that drawing is not for me.

This list can go on indefinitely, since everyone has their own personal thoughts.

So, let’s begin by busting those erroneous beliefs and then discuss the best ways to succeed.

Here’s what you need to understand:

  1. Drawing is just a skill.
  2. Just like every skill, it can be learned.
  3. There is only one person responsible for learning a skill: you.
  4. If you want to become skilled in drawing, you must take responsibility and take action! No one else will do it for you.

If you can truly believe this logic and have a burning desire to become a better artist, no one can stop you from achieving success.

To help clear away these erroneous beliefs that can prevent you from learning and improving, let’s deal with them one by one.

There’s no such thing as being “too old” or “too young” to learn drawing. In the Drawing Academy, we have a student who is 75 years young! If you can hold a pencil, you are fully capable of succeeding.

A lack of inborn talent is one of the biggest excuses. I personally wonder if there is such a thing as “natural talent.” No one has ever seen a child take a pencil in hand and create a masterpiece equal to or better than those ones created by the Old Masters on the first try. It would be a miracle!

Some people may have a predisposition toward drawing. However, it is the tendency to draw often and for longer stretches that results in better drawing skills, not any inherent gift.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the best fine artists who ever lived, once said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” Even one of the greatest artists will admit that he was not born with his skills; they came from practice and hard work.

When it comes to the excuse that learning drawing is difficult, I have to say that the approach must be methodical. Gradually progressing from easy to more challenging tasks is the way to learn. It is like the old joke goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.”

Art students may also be limited by what they experienced in school, having been told that drawing is not their strongest skill. I think a law should be passed to disqualify any teacher who dares to say such an absurd thing. Every person is unique, talented and creative. Everyone can learn how to draw, and everyone should have drawing skills. Drawing is one of the ways to communicate and express your thoughts and ideas.

Having good drawing skills is as necessary and essential as having good verbal abilities. But you were not born with language skills; you had to learn the language you use today. It took months and years for you to learn it. Your parents didn’t give up on you, saying: “Oh, you only know five words, it’s pointless to continue talking to you.” Language learning is a life-long process; you are still learning new words as they are invented! The same applies to learning drawing skills. It takes time and practice. You need to have good teachers and solid examples of how to draw.

So, what is the best way to learn to draw?

There are right and wrong ways. I will explain.

If your idea of good drawing skills is to be able to draw whatever you see, think or imagine, then drawing from photos will not get you what you want. Photographs will teach you how to copy, not how to draw.

For the same reason, in the Drawing Academy course, I encourage art students not to draw copies of the art lessons. Instead, you can watch the “How to Draw” videos to gain knowledge of drawing techniques and methods, proportions, perspective, human anatomy, and other essential skills, then apply that new knowledge to drawing from models, nature, and life.

Another wrong method of learning drawing is to start with advanced topics. Skipping the essentials is a mistake. I have seen many art students come to life-drawing classes in London and struggle from the very first minute.

Drawing a live model requires knowledge of how to use drawing materials, human figure proportions, measuring techniques, constructive drawing methods, etc. A student should not expect to draw a good figurative work of art without ever having drawn a simple cube in perspective.

Unfortunately, there is one more wrong way of learning art: applying for the wrong contemporary art college. It is heartbreaking to see that the quality of education in general, and of art education in particular, is declining. There are so many art colleges where students are taught how to be creative instead of developing good art fundamentals.

One student wrote to me saying: “I am a student who chose the wrong school to study under. I went in with little to no skill in drawing or painting. I will leave the same way. But I will have a degree that says I can put rubbish together and call it art!

Don’t expect an instructor at an art college to show you by example how to make a drawing from beginning to end in front of your eyes. The best you could hope for in a college is to get some advice here and there. Such “art education” can waste 4 years of your life and cost more than $100,000!

Now let’s discuss the right ways to learn how to draw:

I have combined them into seven groups:

1. You must have good teachers.

Not just any art teachers, either, but teachers who are professional fine artists and can draw skillfully.

In the Drawing Academy, you will benefit from the extensive technical knowledge and creative experience of two professional fine artists – Vladimir London and Natalie Richy.
Together, we have spent more than 20 years studying art and more than 47 years creating it.

We teach drawing by our own examples. In the Drawing Academy video lessons, you will see the complete process of creating works of art, starting from a blank piece of paper to the end product. You will receive a full explanation of how to draw and what techniques and methods to use.

As a Drawing Academy student, you will enjoy unlimited personal support from Academy tutors. We are ready to help you with any art-related questions you may have, advise you on your creative development, and give you professional feedback on your artwork and ways to improve your drawing skills.

This personal support extends even beyond the three-month course period.

2. Your drawing education should progress in a methodical manner – from basic to advanced levels.

That is how the Drawing Academy course is designed. You will start with essential information on drawing materials and how to use them, such as how to hold and use a pencil in the correct way. You will progress from drawing simple geometrical objects to complex organic shapes; from the theory of proportions and perspective to human anatomy for artists. You will then learn the necessary information on how to draw portraits and human figures. Eventually you will acquire all the fundamental information that will enable you to draw whatever you want.

3. You need to learn how to rely on your drawing skills, not on tools.

There are many so-called “art teachers” who advocate certain drawing tools and equipment. You might have heard of the five-pencil drawing method, use of a builder’s line, grey-scale values, or some other drawing aids.

In the Drawing Academy, we want you to develop your drawing skills. Such skills are inside you, not in your toolbox.

As Michelangelo Buonarroti said: “It is necessary to keep one’s compass in one’s eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.

We want you not to be handicapped by reliance on certain drawing equipment. You should be free and able to draw whatever you see, think, or imagine with whatever tools you have at your disposal.

4. You need to learn the essential rules and techniques of drawing.

Don’t just assume that every art teacher knows and teaches them. I have seen art teachers in highly regarded London art schools who don’t even teach their students how to hold a pencil!

In the Drawing Academy you will learn many rules of drawing, including:

  • Rules of perspective.
  • Golden proportions.
  • Proportions of human face and figure.
  • Principles of constructive drawing.
  • Principles of tonal values.
  • Techniques of rendering light and shade.
  • Application of human anatomy to figurative drawing.
  • Sequential steps for drawing portraits.
  • Rules for drawing human figures.
  • And more!

5. You need to know the most common drawing mistakes and how to avoid them.

There are some common drawing mistakes that separate mediocre and amateur artists from skilled masters. You need to be aware of those mistakes and avoid them in order to improve your drawing skills. Throughout the Drawing Academy course you will discover what to do and what not to do when drawing.

6. You need to learn to draw from your memory and imagination.

The Old Master Michelangelo once stated that “a man paints with his brains and not with his hands.” This also applies to drawing from memory.

In the Drawing Academy we advocate making both short sketches and long drawings, from life as well as from imagination. The Drawing Academy Assignment Book will guide you and give you valuable information on how to work on drawing from your memory and imagination.

7. You need to develop good taste in art by studying the Old Masters and making copies of their artwork.

Having good drawing skills is not enough; a fine artist needs to develop their style as well. Good style grows from good taste in art, and good taste comes from studying the Old Masters and the history of art. That is why in the Drawing Academy you will learn drawing techniques that originate from the time of the Old Masters. Academy video lessons, bonus videos, books, and art albums will offer a comprehensive foundation upon which you can build your own creative style.

The Drawing Academy is much more than just a drawing course. In the Academy, you will also benefit from the Art Community.

This includes exclusive services, such as:

  • the critique of your artwork;
  • the student gallery;
  • and community feedback.

Membership in the Drawing Academy is valued at $4,455 – 45 video lessons at $99 each; however, you can get the full drawing course for a one-time payment of only $257. This is the only fee you must pay in order to receive a lifetime membership. This includes all future updates and upgrades – free of charge!

Alternatively, you can spread out your tuition payment in three installments of just $97 per month.

In both cases, you will be entitled to the Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after completing the course.

You are just one click from starting your art education – click the “Add to Cart” button now!

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