Monday, October 20, 2008

Do you HAVE to draw? The problem with tracing.

That means two things to me. Ever since I was little, making a mark on a piece of paper has been an almost daily activity! A new box of crayons was...heaven! When I take a break from art for some it's spring planting season...I get "itchy" inside, just have to get back into it. I enjoy it and I NEED it. I know the artists out there can identify with that.

The other thing about having to draw is, that it's a necessary skill to develop. No matter where you start, you can improve and you should. It just makes it so much easier to accomplish what you see in your head, and want to put onto paper or canvas. I have a problem with colored pencil instruction books that provide patterns to trace or advise tracing. Or even worse, artists who print out pale photoshopped photos to color over. As though the artists who view it can't tell.

For one thing, I think it takes the soul out of the work. Even when the coloring is technically flawless, a computer doing your drawing for you robs your piece of YOU. Every choice you make on a piece reflects your style, your personality, your work. I love when I see a group drawing or painting from the same reference, which is done every weekend on WetCanvas! All the same..but so different!

For another, those without drawing skills will always struggle. All that time coloring or painting and yet it still doesn't look like what was envisioned in the brain. The reason? Drawing skills. A great idea without a crucial ingredient.

That's why I use a support I could erase. A nice hard paper like Mi Tientes is great for beginners, especially. I sketch my subject with a pastel that is nearly the same color as the paper. Erasing then is just a brush of the hand. Then, go over the pastel marks with a colored pencil. Or use colorease, the colored pencils from Prismacolor with the eraser on the end.

Drawing is the cornerstone of art. You can draw anywhere, anytime and should incorporate it into your day. Sketch your dog, the guy 2 rows ahead of you on the train, the flowers outdoors, a branch. Your foot. Drawing anything improves and sharpens your skills for drawing what you like to draw. And makes making art so much more fun when your skills keep up with your creativity!

Next time, I'll talk about coaxing out your own individual style, whether a beginner or not. If you haven't visited my pet portrait website, it's and if you'd like to read more of my blog, click on the title above to go to the top.
Have a great art day! Robin


Cat-in-a-Box said...

Hear! Hear!


Robin said...

Hi Cat in a box, glad you agree!

Angela Finney said...

Great post encouraging drawing from life and free hand drawing, without a bit of smugness that have some when talking about this subject. Angela