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What is your main goal in learning drawing?

What is your main goal in learning drawing?

Question from Jinuk, Drawing Academy student

I’m taking Drawing Academy lessons and I love the course!

Are there any reference photographs available to print to help me follow each video? I need some relevant references to copy from.

Thank you

Answer from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Hi Jinuk,

Many thanks for your request.

When it comes to copying, there is a right and wrong way. Taking inspiration from the Old Masters will give you a good taste and style in art. Learning drawing by copying real life photographs will limit your creative drawing skills.

What is your main goal in learning drawing?
Copy of Rembrandt’s self-portrait by Vladimir London, Watercolor on Saunders Waterford paper, 19×28 cm

To answer your question, I have to ask: What is your main goal in learning drawing? To become a reproducer, or an original artist who can draw anything from life, memory, and imagination?

If your goal is to be able to copy from photos, I can send you reference images.

However, if your aspiration is much more than becoming a “human photocopier,” you need to take a different approach to learning.

Please check the following information and decide what your goal in art is:





Kind Regards,
Vladimir London

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. vmmpennell@gmail.com says:

    As children we copy – trees, houses, cars, etc. As we grow we expand – but still use the copy method. If we are lucky enough to have art classes or art history we begin to go deeper – see differently, see how other view things. Realize that we have voices through art; use our talent and thoughts to give meaning to a subject from out viewpoint.

    So my goal is to learn the truth of form – human and otherwise. Then the expression and statement of the artist can be given accurately.

    • Simon says:

      Children are the most original artists – they do not copy, but live through art, express their thoughts, dreams and ideas. As one grows without a formal classical art training, an artist starts copying to make more realistic artworks; this happens due to lack of art skills and knowledge.

  2. Rich says:

    I see a problem with not using a photo. Every video comes to the student in two dimensions (monitor); not unlike a photo. It is hard for me to imagine asking someone to pose for an hour or more. Landscape presents an other problem. You have to go on location at the exact same time each day. Still life if artificially lit is OK.
    About me: I am 77 yrs old and have been drawing for about 5 years using photos. My retirement (low)funds prevents me from getting any education. Most of my education is on the internet. I like your site.

    • Simon says:

      Hi Rich,

      With all respect to your age, I have to say that you were going the wrong way in art for last 5 years.

      I understand you don’t have a proper art education and using Internet to learn. Internet is good for information, but not all art lessons on Internet are by professional art teachers. I have seen so many examples of “how not to draw”, including copying from photos.

      I was lucky to study in the Repin Academy in St. Petersburg. Copying from photos is the biggest sin in drawing by standards of this Academy (take this advice seriously as Repin’s school is one of the best in the world).

      Yes, students there draw life models, not for an hour, but for 40…60 hours per pose. Yes, they paint landscapes en plein air. And this is the only way to get strong art skills and be an original fine artist.


  3. Helga Parker says:

    Hi Simon,
    I have to agree with you. I too was drawing and painting from photographs only to find out that my work was flat and distorted. Back to square one. There are so many things we can draw from life that is all around us. I purchase flowers and draw them. I see tons of items just around my house I can draw. With that said it is very important to draw and paint from life, but also incorporate some drawings from pictures after you are good in drawing from life.

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