Hi there. Your art is inspirational. What advice/encouragement would you give to someone who would love to learn to draw well but is disheartened because they are at the *real* beginner stage (you know, 'can you draw a straight line?'), and feels lost and frustrated?
Hi! Don’t worry, We’ve all been there, and I’m pretty sure even the greatest artists get those days now when they just feel that nothing’s working and they feel frustrated with their work. I personally have days when I look at my art and feel really happy with myself, and then sometimes I just look at my gallery and think that it’s not good enough, I’m not improving enough at all or fast enough and I wish I could just remove everything (don’t do that though). It’s good to have goals, but don’t kick yourself for not being there just yet. (I have to remember that too haha) It takes time! Everyone starts somewhere, learning to draw is not something that happens in a day and sometimes you might think there’s no improvement and no point but one day you look at two drawings you’ve done and see everything you’ve learned between them :D and it’s a really great feeling!! Don’t get discouraged by others’ success and how fast they might be improving, everyone learns at a bit different pace anyway and it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.
There are people who have been drawing since they were kids, and people who picked up the pencil in their later twenties and decided they want to learn to draw, and they had never drawn anything before. And they can all be just as good. Just be persistent, keep studying and observing the world around you, and learn what things are based on. Study from real life and photos when you can’t do life drawings, it’s the best! Also you can look up other artists’ work for inspiration, but don’t get too caught up in using the ways THEY stylise as you are probably copying their mistakes as well.
If you want to draw animals, possibly start out with photos first as they stay still. But don’t necessarily trace (if you do don’t upload any work without a permission from the photographer), eyeball the photo and try to draw from that. If you want to draw cats for example, study and observe real cats. Know what things are based on and you’ll notice it’ll be a lot easier to stylise and draw things when you understand how it works “under the surface”! Why does thing X look like this, what causes it? I always think of a good example being The Lion King - they had real lions in the studio and they made tons of drawings of them - imagine what a mess it would have been and how difficult it would have been to animate the whole movie if they had no idea how the animal works and nothing coherent to base it on - but even though it’s based on reality, the end result is not necessarily ‘realistic’ at all. Learning anatomy does not mean you have to limit yourself to realistic style, it just means you understand your subject. Doesn’t only mean animals, but even stuff like ‘why do clouds look like they do’, everything happens for a reason so to speak. Get the foundations right before you get down to detailing. I did a project at uni where I filled 2 sketchbooks with life drawings of dogs that were running around too fast and I thought how on earth can I do this and keep up with them aaaaaaa hahahha but in the end I got better and faster at it and I improved at drawing canines more than I’ve probably improved in years.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t limit yourself, and it’s alright if you don’t feel inspired to draw every single day - try creating something else then if you feel like it, for example sculpting something. Same applies if you feel you’ve kind of lost with a drawing and don’t know where it’s heading or just get frustrated, just leave it for a while and get back to it later and you’ll most likely see it with ‘fresh eyes’. My teacher at uni once told me to let the drawing itself define the style/technique you use, and that no drawing goes to waste, you learn something from even the failed ones. If you have a sketchbook, definitely don’t think of it as a portfolio of your greatest sketches you have to show to people. Just fill it with sloppy sketches, ugly sketches, unfinished and finished, sketches you’re happy with, everything. Every single drawing you make counts, doesn’t matter what it looks like. Not every single drawing/painting you make has to be a “finished” masterpiece.
But be persistent and you’ll see the results at the end! I’ve also noticed that it helps a lot just going back to the basics sometimes, if you’re drawing and feel that you’re stuck and feel nothing’s working out, just have a day where you go back to studying and read an article/book about how light/shadow works or do some more life drawing or small sketches or watch a few videos - practice something you maybe thought you already knew if that makes sense.
Might have sidetracked and blabbered there a bit, but hope that helps! TL;DR; don’t give up, every single artist has started somewhere and been a beginner (some earlier and some later in their life), and it’s a constant process for everyone to improve. You don’t wake up one day and think “I’m ready now!”, but that’s the fun part, as silly as it sounds! :D the feeling of success makes it all worthwile, and all the drawings you weren’t happy with have contributed to making it there in the end - no matter where you start.
Oh and watch this! And any other videos you think are relevant, I always find it really inspiring and motivational to watch things like this.
Also just for the laughs; here’s what I did when I was 10 years old (I don’t even want to know what’s going on in that tree). pfffffff I think one of the advantages of starting really young is that you probably just…. draw for the sake of drawing and don’t even care what you’re doing cos it’s just purely for fun and it just evolves from that, but that’s not to say it’s bad to start ‘older’ at all and you can have tons of determination you might not have had as a young kid (or different kind of determination anyway)!