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Drawing Repeatedly

Drawing repeatedly improves our skills. It's such a simple thing to understand isn't it?

However, when we learn to do anything, we are continuously advised that we "have to practice" to succeed. When you read or hear that, does it turn you off in any way?

I ask this because when I hear those words, a heap of excuses (about lack of time) spring to mind so I think that terminology is more of a repellent rather than the wise advice it really is.

The profound meaning behind the word 'practice' boils down to one basic premise and that is:

"Repetition is the magic law of learning".

So now I wonder if it'd make any difference if I simply said "Draw and repeat that process often". Does it invoke a different response in you?

I feel as though that statement leaves it up to me if I want to draw or not, whereas "you must practice" feels like a warning of sorts and I object to that! Maybe I'm just a rebellious, touchy person :)

Anyway, this revelation about repetition happened after I spent one whole hour drawing a card for my granddaughter. Since drawing takes me to another plane of existence, I didn't even realize I had accidentally put all of my effort into an image on the back of the card! This is attempt number one below...

Card Drawing

Immediately, I drew another on the correct side but this one didn't take near as long (less than 30 minutes), yet it was similar in appearance...

Repeated Card Drawing

I actually drew my inspiration from the design on the wrapping paper that I used for the corresponding gift. It wasn't copied exactly; I changed the basic idea to suit myself.

Butterfly image
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Let's Play the Draw and Repeat Game Together

Anyway, let's try out this theory of drawing repeatedly. Here is a duck drawing that you can quickly copy and then repeat that process straight away. It'll take just a couple of minutes so no time for fussing, ok?

Duck Drawing

Now, I'm not proud of my efforts but I display them here to prove that I do the exercises, too. For the first one I just did a quick blocking-in of the original. Here's that image...

Blocking In A Duck

By drawing repeatedly, the 2nd duck (below) looks much healthier in appearance, it shows a more confident stroke and yet it was done within seconds, or so it seemed. I didn't touch the 1st image, I started a new image for the repeat process but this is your game, do what suits you.

Repeated Duck Drawing

No one likes being bossed around so forget about imposed practice; instead let's think that we're just repeating what we've already done! Duh, it's so simple! Claude Monet knew what he was doing when he drew and painted the same subject over and over again.

With the little bit of pencil work I've had the chance to do recently, I opted to do thumbnails because I can create images quickly in a very small space.

Thumbnail Drawing

I think doing thumbnails unintentionally led me into the habit of drawing repeatedly because I have time to do more than one. I'm not drawing the same subject but I'm drawing something over and over, becoming faster and improving on each one as I go.

Thumbnail Drawing 2

I've been drawing (on and off) for over 10 years now, so when I begin drafting any subject onto a piece of paper, I automatically go into a 'drawing zone'. It's a nice feeling but I don't really know I'm there until I think about it afterwards and that's when I realize I was "somewhere else" the whole time.

Thumbnail Drawings 3

So you see, I still have an urge to experiment and explore what's possible with a pencil. I'm always excited about drawing because it gives me the best feeling ever.

Drawing repeatedly gives me more confidence to move forward and even when I'm scribbling, each one improves from the repetitive process.


I'd like to remind you to try doing a quick left-hand sketch first (or use whichever hand you favor the least), to reach that special place of no thought.

This is the left-hand drawing I did recently (including the printing on the side :) ...

Left Handed Drawing

I feel reluctant to draw left-handed but I don't procrastinate over it. Push past any hesitation because you will soon realize that these become your moments of victory.

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek."

(Joseph Campbell)

Don't forget, fear is something we create ourselves, it exists only in our minds with all those horrid 'what ifs'. In case you don't recall, I've already talked about how I left fear behind.

It's Your Choice

Now you might disagree with everything I've said here and that's good! It shows you're thinking for yourself. All I can tell you is what I've come to understand because I could never possibly know what works for you. An artist exists inside of you and you just have to prompt it out of hiding by trying various techniques.

Thumbnail Drawings 4

Always look for the good points in your drawings/scribbles and remember to give yourself praise for putting in the effort and drawing repeatedly. It's your interpretation that counts.

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