I was trying to draw Darusha Wehm, from a photo made by Kreg Steppe at Podcast and New Media Expo 2007. I wasn’t paying attention, and should have tried to approach the drawing with less preconceptions, more loose and relaxed. Instead I barged in and spoiled a good drawing opportunity. I suck at drawing people.
And yet, I didn’t give up. I continued drawing, trying to make the best of it, and learning from my mistakes. It is so easy to say to yourself you suck and quit. It takes real courage to admit you suck and try everything you can to get out of that state of “suckiness”.
I’ll share my horrible drawing with you here, so you can learn with me.
I’ve added some notes after I’ve judged my own drawing (not while drawing, of course!). It says:
Oops, sorry Darusha !
- first look what’s up, only then go into detail
- keep it loose
Perhaps I’m a bit harsh on myself. I know I suck at drawing, especially that I’m being impatient and want to advance too fast. I guess you need to be in a state of suckiness long enough to realize you don’t want to go back to that state ever again. It should motivate you to stay focused and never think it is easy to draw people. It has to be a constant battle between reality, interpretation of that reality by the observer, and playfulness of the hand.
If you don’t look at your subject, you can’t possibly draw it with any acceptable degree of accuracy. If you don’t concentrate on the interesting stuff, and throw out most of what you see, you’d be better off taking a photograph and throwing a cartoon filter at it in Photoshop. If you don’t rely on your mistakes, by sometimes not drawing what you see, you’ll never find “happy mistakes”, which makes your drawing so much more enjoyable and human.
Eyes, mind and hand are the three cornerstones of good draftsmanship. To fine-tune those, make them work for you, you first have to unlearn what you have learned to be true. Preconceptions make your drawings dull and predictable. Of course, there has to be some structure, some adherence to rules of thumb.
The main object, though, should be to draw what you want people to see, what you think is interesting. What is the impression you want to show through your drawings? Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that stage yet. I’m still trying to hold a pencil, put pigment on paper in a somewhat predictable manner, and, as a result, have something other people recognize as something you want them to recognize. This is called drawing after life (or after a photo, in this case).
And I admit that I still suck at drawing after life. This realization makes me feel humble. I also feel so sorry for people whose picture I’ve taken and tried to immortalize with my limited skill set. It inspires me to get better at my craft, but also to not give up so easily.
Enough talk, more drawing.
That is all.