I can answer this question quite emphatically: No, there is not a “right” way to draw. But I think there are some more effective ways to draw and I think there are some less effective ways to draw. What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain.
If you think about the mechanics of drawing then you’re probably visualizing a writing instrument, a paper and maybe a reference
I hear artists, especially young artists, talk about how they like to just draw from their memory. If you’re attempting to just get a quick sketch (concept) on paper then that’s a good way to do it. But
Start with this checklist that you can walk through in your mind:
What are you wanting to convey? Try to be as detailed in your response as possible.
Do you have a reference for your drawing? If so, is it detailed enough for you to see what you need to see?
Once that preliminary planning is done, there is a second part to getting started. At this
Now you are making your first marks on the page. You want to start with a light hand so that you can erase anything that you may want to alter later. This is the reason I always start with a dark pencil
As I progress in the drawing process I am constantly refining my line drawing and I am erasing the line drawing where I may have made incorrect marks. Specifically, I’m looking for incorrect proportions in a face, I’m looking for a form shadow that is too overbearing, and I’m looking for something in my drawing that is starting to draw too much attention. When you’re just beginning you probably do not want to draw more than 15 or 20 minutes without taking a break. Why? Because you will grow mentally tired and may make a decision that is not in balance with the entire drawing and you may inadvertently create an eye-sore that you will have trouble removing later. But after a 5 or
If you draw with a heavy hand at the beginning and you develop one area (like a neck for example in a portrait) and you’ve left the forehead alone, then you will need to remember exactly how you executed the neck. It is so much easier to go ahead and do the layers all at the same time. If you lay a base layer of “brown ochre” down in one area of your drawing, then just make sure you layer that color everywhere (of course the coverage will vary according to subject). Once that is done, then move on to the next layer.
What about the stroke?
The stroke that you use should be something where you are holding the pencil with a comfortable grip and with a motion that you can sustain for a long time without tiring. You can also use a variety of strokes, but they should always be controlled and not strained. The pencil should be able to rest comfortably in your hand to allow you to make the mark you intend to make. You never want a situation where you are wondering where the tip of the pencil is going to end up connecting with the paper.
Finally, once you make a mark please never think that you have to live with that mark. If you don’t like the mark you just made then erase it and do it again. You will get better at making marks and it will get easier to control. But don’t make the mistake of waiting until an hour goes by, thinking in your mind, I’ll just correct those mistakes later. Do it now. Take care of it while you remember what you need to correct.
Is this the only way to approach a drawing? Absolutely not. But this is what I have found to be more effective time and time again.
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