Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to draw, and WHY draw: Face to Face

I love drawing. I didn't do it very well for a long time, and I can still make some pretty decent mistakes, but drawing has brought me so much peace in my life. It's an activity you can do, putting aside whatever else is on your mind. It doesn't matter who draws better than you. It doesn't matter if you show it to many people. You could fill a lot of free time practicing its basics; that was the step I missed for a long time!

When you draw a person or character, you spend the time thinking about your subject. With each line---with each correction---the subject stays on your mind. You focus on providing the image with all it needs: its eyes, nose, ears...shading. When you erase and improve, you think of helping the image along. You have to be patient with yourself. You can enjoy the thoughts surrounding your subject, think of its essence. You can consider the drawing from different angles, turn it upside down; you can put your subject in any position you can imagine, or just faithfully bring a photograph to life!

If there's no energy left over for anything else, a blank page and your pencil are all you need to improve some tiny part of yourself. To really get the knack for drawing heads, for example, you should try ovals, over and over again. Heck, I should take some time today to do the same!

Let's say all you have handy is a pen: why not play along, anyway! Do you want it to look more like the person you had in mind? Was the anatomy a bit shaky? If there's something you want to correct, you can always try re-drawing it. You may really like the style of a drawing, even if it doesn't conform to the exact image you had in mind. The ideal is to let the drawing---the process of drawing---put you in touch with the essence of who you are drawing. All the time you spend on your image, you spend partially on the technical matters of placing this here, and this, like so; enjoy thinking about what who you are drawing means to you, what are they like---what is this person's life like? You don't have to concentrate on you, or your mistakes: make it about your subject. Take your mind off your self; let your time become the image.

Maybe you think you will never have the time to become really good at it---but I encourage you to put that aside. Do it for the sake of the task itself. It's just a mark at a time! Spend as little time erasing as possible. Start a new drawing as many times as necessary!

It's just: decide what face you want. You will find yourself trying the many expressions of human emotions. It's a great way of concentrating on a person you like, or even one you are trying to understand. Decide who you're drawing, then start up with an oval. Draw a soft line down the middle, where the nose is, then try another line across where the ears will be; that's where to put your mouth, too. Your eyes will be one eye apart in width, on most humans. They're positioned parallel with the tops of the ears, too.

Maybe you want a simple approach; I've told you all you need, here. It's the spirit of what you do that matters; see it for the fun of doing it, rather than worrying over the result. Just draw!

Just draw.

These drawings courtesy the Marc Kane, aka Angela Dawn. Here's my version:

It was a great way to spend some time thinking about my cousin Melinda...maybe it will make her happy, see her own beauty of spirit.

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