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[Drawing] With Style
October 21, 2009

Do you wonder if your unique style of drawing will ever be revealed to you?

The reason I ask is because that is something that bothered me for years. Whenever I read about drawing techniques, I'd also read ... "Practice this and your own style will evolve." Yes, ok, but ... when?

Unfortunately, there is no standard answer to that question. It depends on how much you practice and draw.

I think a lot of us beginner artists worry because we copy all the time, we worry that we can't conceive anything original, and that it will never happen for us.

I love to copy from books because I draw a lot at night. Books are convenient. I also copy pictures from newspaper travel ads, junk mail, anything I see that interests me. Keep your interest in drawing stimulated by choosing subjects that appeal to you.

Copying is all part of your drawing apprenticeship. The time will come when you will have your own original ideas.

The absolute best way to propel your drawing skills to the next level is to practice drawing from real life.

Going outdoors and copying from nature is really good fun, and you do impress yourself with the images that you can produce. The realization comes to you that you are still copying, yet you have produced an original drawing! You are looking at your own interpretation of a natural thing.

Once you see your drawings come alive, you can't get enough, you just have to draw more. While you are intent on this process, you're unaware that you are practicing, and improving, and your style is evolving. Really, it's an unseen process. One day you'll just look at your drawings and you will notice your own style right there, before you.

Look for things in everyday life (inside and out) that you are attracted to, things that capture your interest. Don't just look at it though, look closer. What do you see? What can you create from that? You can improvise and turn something completely ordinary into something spectacular. Just omit and include whatever you like.

Your unique style + improvisation = your artistic fingerprint.

The way you interpret something would likely be completely different to the way I would interpret it.

Have you ever watched a group of artists paint the same subject? It is the most fascinating experience. I stand in awe of all the various ways each artist sees things. It's like taking a peek into their souls.

If time constraints make you struggle to put pencil to paper, I really think you would benefit by drawing thumbnails. The fact that you only have to fill a one or two inch square, and it takes a mere couple of minutes, should give you the incentive to just do it. It's up to you, it's always up to you, and how much you want this.

If you watch tv, keep your sketchbook beside you. Make a quick sketch of things that grab your attention. I've tried to draw live from the tv, and my efforts have been dismal. However, I come away happy in the knowledge that it is all progress. I will be able to draw fast one day! If you record shows on tv, you can always press pause and draw at your leisure. If you love drawing landscapes, record a travel show. You'll be able to capture images from all around the world!

So there you go. Stop worrying that you're not original. You are. All art is copied, whether it be from real life or books. Even when we use our imagination, we use references from real life.

There is not a lot of difference between copying a picture of a flower, or copying a real flower. You only need to try this experiment with nature and prove to yourself that you can draw anything you set your mind to.

You still may not be able to see your unique style in your own work, but if you look at the drawings from some beginner artists that are sent in each month, you'll be able to see their unique style. Yes, at that early stage, it is there, even though we can't see it ourselves.

What's New at

Your Drawings

Here's your chance to study work from beginner artists and to identify each individual style. Thanks everyone for sending in Your Drawings this past month.

In case you don't get to see all of the drawings, I'd like to share something that one artist said, because we can all learn from it.

Sheryl is a self taught artist, and she has only just introduced portrait drawing into her portfolio. "My Husband" was the first of Sheryl's drawings to be submitted. Sheryl shared the tips below, in the comment section of another of her drawings, called "Deep Thought".

From Sheryl:

"My pencils are just regular graphite that I purchased at wal-mart.

I use a grid to get my proportions right. I use a tortillon to shade with and tissue to go over the skin after shading to soften.

The main thing I have learned is to make sure you get contrast or the image will look flat. Make your darks black and try to keep the white/light areas white.

I never draw a line to produce my image, it is all created using shading. For example: I see some draw a line to produce the chin area...I never ever do this. I use my tortillon to draw that chin area it puts a shaded line instead of the hard line the pencil makes. This is done all over the face, neck, etc...

The hair is multiple layers of lines produced with a mechanical pencil because it stays sharp which is what you need to produce hair."

Thank you very much Sheryl, for giving me permission to share your tips and technique here.

Tip of the Month

This tip regarding lines, elaborates on Sheryl's tip above.

Another way to eliminate hard lines in your drawings, is to shade over the top of your outline.

Let's say you are doing an animal drawing. Your outline should have been light to start with, but if it isn't you can erase small portions as you go along. Work over that area with short, sharp strokes, to indicate the direction of fur or feathers.

Work in some light and shade by using different grade pencils, or by using more or less pressure on your pencil. Always start light and work your way up to dark.

You can shade right up to and over an outline so that one shade of grey meets another, with no outlines to be seen.

It's another progression towards realistic drawings if we resist the temptation to put in hard lines.

Do you have a question about drawing? Chances are, it has already been asked. See if you can find your answer in the frequently asked questions section.

You can quickly find the last 20 pages to be added to the site simply by visiting the Drawings Blog.

, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this issue.

You are welcome to reply to this email if you have anything you'd like to share with me.

Have a creative day!


"You never graduate from drawing." - John Sloan

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