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[Drawing] Mentally
December 15, 2013

We tend to be very impatient when we really want something, don't we? Like when we have a yearning to draw, we want to be good from the very beginning -- who needs to wade through boring lessons, right?

I'm sorry to put a damper on your expectations but successful drawing does take patience and practice (along with plenty of mistakes) but stay with me because I have another special secret to share only with you!

...I have discovered that we can practice drawing mentally and this small effort really does enhance our skills, as amazing as that sounds.

On my About Me page, I relate the story of how I first realized that I wanted to be an artist when I began drawing faces in my mind. At the time, I did not understand that this mental process actually helped me build a good foundation for drawing effortlessly.

When I look back at my beginner practice pages, I am still amazed at some of the work I produced even though I had never drawn anything recognizable in my 40+ years of life. My initial results spurred me on with great momentum because I wanted to experience many more of those exhilarating feelings of discovery.

Years later, I am now convinced that the art of visualization played an important part in making learning to draw a pleasant experience -- believe it or not but I will stand by that statement in a courtroom!

December is such a busy month and it's difficult to find the time to draw so I always try to come up with ideas for sustaining our skills when pencil and paper are out of reach. That was when it suddenly hit me that mental drawing is a good way for you to progress and master this art!

As you go about your daily chores, look at things and identify the lines or shapes that you would use to draw them and proceed to draw mentally. By the time you get to actually put pencil to paper, your subject will flow from your mind and through your pencil like magic -- it's bound to surprise you!

Resources for Christmas

It only takes a minute or two to sketch something and make your own Christmas gift tags. If you wish, go over the sketch carefully with a permanent pen or even watercolor pencils and brush over lightly with water.

Find some simple Christmas images here and here.

If you have the time, how about making an original gift for that special person in your life, like this doodle.

The How To Sketch book in paperback is proving to be a very popular Christmas gift.

Another great idea is to buy the digital How To Sketch book and copy it onto a thumb or flash drive to give as a gift. All budding artists would love that!

Drawing Tip of the Month

Proportion evolves naturally in your drawings when you establish good lines that mimic a skeleton of your subject. (You can also create a skeleton in a "mental exercise" as described above.)

Develop a habit to ask yourself questions as you draw the skeleton -- which way does it lean or stand as a whole entity, where are the main protruding bits -- are they straight or curved, go up or down, etc.

After you identify the largest pieces that make up a subject, indicate their direction and length with a single stroke and compare one line to the other as you go along (this helps put all parts in proportion to each other).

Once you have a skeleton on paper, use these foundation lines as central lines and build around them to create the volume of your subject.

This advice works for a good majority of subjects. If you don't have a layout to build upon, you more than likely end up with everything skewed.

Handy Links

Find some good online drawing books that I bought to help me learn, practice and improve. They all have a money-back guarantee which is fantastic because the books I like may not necessarily be the same ones you like.

If you have any drawing questions, please visit the frequently asked questions page to find your answers.

Drawing is a very economical hobby - see the few basic supplies needed to get started.

Are we connected on Facebook yet? Please join with me, I'd love your company!

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

I send my deep gratitude for your friendship and support. May you enjoy a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, take care and I'll chat with you again in February 2014.

Kerry Sig
How To Sketch book

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein
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