Over the last year I've participated in many challenges that required me to do a drawing a day for a period of time. Most notably the color challenge and refinement challenge, but also a lot of speedpainting and daily sketching
. Over the past few years a lot of people have asked me how the hell I would manage to do a sketch every single day, so I figured it would be nice to share some of my own experiences, tips & tricks with you to help you step up your drawing game.
About time management
Every person has priorities in life. We deem one thing more important than the other, so we tend to do that first.
"I have no time for this"is the equivalent of:
"There are other things that I deem more important, so I prefer to spend my time on those"This isn't inherently good or bad. After all; some priority's are very valid (work, study, spending time with family/friends). It is, however, something to be aware of. If you're one of those "I have no time for drawing" types of people, this doesn't mean you really have no time to draw. It means other things in your life demand so much of your time that you end up with no time left for drawing. Figure out what these things are. Are they really that important for you? Is it really that impossible to squeeze in half an hour of doodling into your day, perhaps when waiting for the bus or having a break at work or school?
You don't have to put in a tremendous amount of time
You don't have to produce a full blown painting every single day. On some days you'll have all the time in the world and you can manage to do a full painting. On other days you'll only have 15 minutes and the only thing you can manage is a quick sketch on a scrap of paper. It doesn't really matter.
The act of drawing daily is mostly a way to maintain your skills. To keep your hands flexible, your brains up to par with drawing and your inspiration flowing. Unless you're planning up to end up at the high end of the art industry, there's no reason to force yourself to keep to meticulous 12-hour-a-day training schedules (and even then 12 hours a day isn't that healthy). It's quite the contrary. If you're a hobbyist, one of the most important things about art is to have fun while doing it.
Know your weapons of mass distraction
With managing your time, also comes to topic of distraction or procrastination. About things you don't deem useful but still spend a lot of time on. These are activities that are easy to cut time on. Think about things like watching Netflix, TV, using Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp... or browsing the internet in general.
Be aware of your weapons of mass distraction. Only then can you make the conscious choice to sign off, turn off your computer or your phone, and focus on what you really want to do.
About your mindset
It doesn't have to be good
Many people get hold back by their own mind when it comes to drawing.
"What if it doesn't look good?"These are all very familiar thoughts for a lot of artists (and some very valid ones as well) but the thing is; these will get your nowhere.
"What if I try drawing this pose and I can't pull it off?"
"What will people think of me?"
Every single artist has suffered a moment of self-doubt. Most of them suffer more than just a moment of it. It's common. Not only you suffer from it, but there's a huge chance that amazing artist you follow suffers from it as well. We all do.
The difference is that some people decide to let the self-doubt paralyze them, while other people fight it as a boss and just keep on drawing.
Be one of those people that fights it like a boss! If you're afraid other people won't like your art, then don't publish it. You don't have to put your art on the internet. Hell, you don't even have to show it to your friends! Just keep it to yourself if you feel that keeps the pressure off for you. Of course you won't pull off drawing that new thing at once. Nobody does! And yes... people will always think things about you. Some good, some bad. You can't change that, so why bother? People's thoughts have no power of you unless you let them have that power. Confide in yourself as a person, in your ideas and your (growing) skill.
You don't have to be inspired
Not every drawing has to be inspired. The goal of drawing daily is... to draw every single day. It doesn't matter what you draw, as long as you sit down and make a drawing. Nobody is inspired 365 days a year. If you feel uninspired, just take a picture from another artist*, a landscape, an object in your room, and draw it!
It becomes routine
I don't know if you ever started working out or training, but it's a familiar feeling. When you first start out in bad shape, the training hurts. Both physically and mentally (as you get confronted with your own lack of capabilities) and it's for that reason hard to stick with it. But when you do keep up with it, you'll gradually find it easier. You get in better shape. The training doesn't hurt that bad anymore. Instead you're fueled by seeing how you improve, and you try to keep pushing your body to its limits to see what you can do. And gradually the social part gets easier too. Saying "you're going off to gym" is no longer getting you weird stares, as people in your environment know that's what you usually spend your time on, and they get used to it soon enough.
Well, this whole thing goes for drawing. When you first draw, you suck. You'll get better over time, and you'll be fueled by your own improvement. When you first tell your friends/family you're not coming because you've got other things to do, they'll frown upon that. When you do it more often, they'll start accepting that as part of who you are.
The bottom line of the story is; keep up going. It'll get easier in time
Read my other how to's as well
How to: AnatomyHuman anatomy is, for sure, one of the hardest things to draw. But at the same time it's one of the most interesting things to draw, because... hey... we love making characters, and it's nice if they at least look a bit like a human being. I'm still far from perfect at drawing the human body, yet I've accumulated some very useful tips, tricks and websites.
Drawing from life
Drawing from life is awesome!
Look for life drawing classes in your environment, or if they're not available; ask your friends to pose for you. Go have a drink in the city when the weather is nice, and sketch people passing by. There's nowhere you learn more about human anatomy than by observing and sketching real people. There's only one downside to this; dynamic poses are tricky, as it's hard for any model to hold a difficult pose for a long time.
And no... drawing (nearly) naked people in a drawing class isn't awkward. I
How to: ColorAs a follow up of my "How to: Anatomy" journal that was received so well by the community, I will continue this series with a how to on color.
Color is considered to be one of the hardest subjects when it comes to art. Most beginners (and even some advanced artists) struggle to get the colors of their work right. I myself do as well. This journal is by no means a full coverage on how to color. It will however be a good list of resources to get you started on this hard subject.
A few things to get started
There are a few things to color
There's hue and value. Hue determines what place in the color spectrum the color is in (red, green, blue.. etc). Value determines how dark or light a color is. In order to understand colors, you have to know how to influence and work with both of them.
Your brain is deceiving you