how to draw

Learn How to Draw

We’ve all got special gifts and talents, those things that just seem to come naturally to us. Some people sing, others play musical instruments. Some of us are mathematical wizards and others can spell words perfectly, even if they’ve never even seen the word before. And others seem to be able to put magic on paper or canvas with the artistic ability to draw flawlessly almost anything that comes to mind.

How to draw is a talent that many people work hard to develop and, even those of us who do have a natural talent for the art, work hard at perfecting it. While some natural ability is helpful, it isn’t a deal breaker. Some of us have the talent but haven’t ever had the opportunity to use it. A little practice helps everybody.

Perhaps one of the hardest things about learning how to draw is to not think about what you’re drawing in the first place. It sounds crazy to think that drawing a perfect pony, peony, or portrait revolves around not thinking about drawing a pony, peony, or portrait but it’s often the idea of the big picture that gets in the way.

Instead, when we are learning how to draw, we must break down the big picture into the smaller elements that comprise the whole. Consider just the lines involved in connecting the different shapes. Consider the shapes themselves. Find the circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles that are instrumental in the drawing’s composition.

Oftentimes how to draw doesn’t mean setting out to draw a hoof, a leaf, or a nose. Focusing too closely on the finished effect means overlooking the smaller details that work together to make the finished drawing. Forget that you’re drawing a nose and look more closely at the lines, shapes, and shading that make a nose a nose.

One very effective, and highly amusing, way to learn to draw is to place your subject upside down. This doesn’t work very well with a live pony, peony, or person but it’s OK to start with drawings, paintings, and photographs before moving on to live subjects.

When learning how to draw using an upside down subject, the artist’s perception is more open to seeing the individual elements instead of seeing the big picture and thinking “horse.” Instead of seeing with the logically thinking left side of the brain, the side that sees the picture and instantly knows “horse,” the more creative right side of the brain sees instead elements such as shaggy waving lines full of motion (mane and tail), smoothly rounded firm lines of muscle (body), a series of dark circles situated just so (eyes, nose, ears).

Once learning how to draw using pictures, upside down or not, it’s just a short step into drawing purely from the imagination, without the need of props, photos, and the input from the know-it-all left side of the brain. And an added benefit is that exercising the creative right side of the brain is likely to liven up the function of the stuffy left side, too.


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