This was the subject line of an email I sent to some friends. The gist of the email was at one time I loved to draw and art in general, well then I went to high school and tried to suppress the artist in me. Thus I gave up drawing. Since I lived in Prague I’ve got back to the creative side of me and I’ve been dabbling with photography, graphic design, and video but I want to get back to drawing. But I struggle! I struggle a lot with getting started! I don’t know where to start. The easy answer is, “Just draw!” Well, that isn’t the answer I need. Here is a reply from my good friend, Mike Gorter, I think you will enjoy it also! Thanks Mike!
1–think about what it is in your observations in Life, Nature, etc that you find interesting and want to focus on….I personally want to someday explore the idea of painting light and things that emit light (sun/stars/lamps etc). I think it would be a neat study. I dig Van Gogh’s Starry Night for instance (to ref something we’ve all seen). I think it’s a fantastic-ly interesting depiction of light.
2–get some art books and look at works by artists that inspire you. What exactly do you like about them? What styles/methods/techniques characterize the style that you like? Some of my fav painters (off the top of my head) are Rembrandt, Hopper, Munch Van Gogh, DeGas, Vermeer, Cezanne. My favorite artist that worked primarily in b&w drawings/litho/woodcut is Kathe Kollwitz. Def check out her work. Very emotional. If you’re interested primarily in drawing see if you can grab books that have sketches of paintings done by your fav artists. I typically find this free, rough and rapid style of drawing to be pretty sweet. It’s got a lot of spontaneity and action to it.
3–sit outside and sketch. Any scene will do (you should see some of the things I sketched for class…but the profs liked them). Don’t spend hours on a single scene, be efficient and use your artistic instincts. Not every sketch will be a masterpiece (few will actually). Be literal about what you see even if you think that if you draw something a certain way, it’s going to look funny or weird. Practice techniques like crosshatching and depicting various levels of shading and value in the same scene. Practice being proportionally accurate, esp with human figures(if you find an old man on a park bench, sit across the way and sketch him!!). Get a giant sketchbook and don’t be afraid to waste paper (but remember to recycle….what with global warming and all 😀 ).
4–Bring music that inspires you, but don’t be afraid to listen to nature as well…doing artsy stuff like that does actually work to inspire the true artist in you…and of course appreciate the art and creation of God in your surrounding. Notice and acknowledge it as as art with specific qualities of goodness and beauty. A lot of that can go unnoticed, but if you sit and notice it and are thankful for it, the artist in you will want to imitate the Great Artist even more. No fake.
5–DEF get some good drawing pencils (and a sharpener/small utility knife and a kneaded eraser would help too)!!!