What is the best way to learn to draw?

What is the best way to learn to draw? The Simple answer is to draw as often as possible.

A Recent Charcoal Portrait Study – Chetul Sangye Dorje

One of the books that really inspired me on my own journey of learning to draw was a book called Bounce The myth of talent and the power of practice – By Mathew Syed.

There are lots of great ideas in this book and I would really recommend it, but one of the best was the importance of adopting a growth mindset.

In a Growth Mindset

  • People believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.
  • They understand that brains and talent are just the starting point.
  • This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

In my Art classes I too often see people getting frustrated with their painting or drawing skills for the wrong reasons.

Sure we all do good work and bad work sometimes – however the only reason we are not as good as we would like is primarily related to how much practice we have put in.

So don’t get mad – Practice more!

So my advice to anyone who wants to learn how to draw is:

  • Make more art,
  • Practice consistently
  • Focus much more on Quantity vs Quality.

If you take care of the quantity the quality will take care of itself over time.

Having said all that – there are ways that you can practice that will speed the whole process up even faster.

Watch great artists

Go to demos, watch youtube artists, and watch other artists at work.

I always tell my students that one my great sources of inspiration whilst at university studying Painting and Drawing – wasn’t any of my Tutors – but sitting in my little room watching Bob Ross.

Sure for my tutors his work seemed very cheesy – and I wasn’t going to spend my life painting mountains, pine trees and huts.

However watching him paint with oils, the effects he got and the enjoyment he  gave to himself and his viewers (me included)- did more for my inspiration to become an artist than all my other lectures put together!

I have even started doing my own demos for youtube – you can watch one of them here.

learn how to draw by watching artists at work
A Picture is worth a thousand words – Watch people paint! Including Bob Ross.
Read – Drawing on The Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.

Or more importantly Read it AND do all the exercises in the book.

I never forget seeing my dad pick up this book and transform his drawing skills in about 6 months.

It really works! BUT – it forces you to draw in ways that at first feel weird and uncomfortable

. Deep down we want to draw how we have always drawn. This book will break that habit if you let it.

I have taught adults to paint for about 10 years now – what I would give to get them all to sit down with this book and grind through the exercises for 6 months or so.

This is a close as you will get to short cut to becoming a great artist.

Attend Life Drawing Classes.

This is the tried and tested method artist have used for centuries to master their art.

Why?

Because drawing the Human Body is probably one of the most challenging subjects you can choose to draw.

If you get a tree wrong or a mountain you might get away with it.

However if you get a nose wrong or a leg too short our brains are wired up so that we will know when it’s wrong (and also when it’s right).

Life Drawing is hard work – however week after week, month after month, year after year – you will see results.

The great thing is that this will feed into everything that you draw and paint – drawing the human form well will make you an all round better artist.

learn how to draw by attending life drawing classes
A Portrait of the Model – Drawn in my weekly Life Drawing Class
Enjoy what you do.

Of course there will be times when its hard work – but if it gets too hard you will give it up and watch Netflix instead.

So try and enjoy the results along the way. Learning to draw is a marathon not a sprint.

Track your results – Post your work on a blog or on Instagram and track your success.

The more you enjoy your drawing, the more you will do and the more you do, the better you will get.

Good Luck.

Let me know how you get on!

improve your drawing - by sketching from life
The Orwell Hotel – Felixstowe – Drawn on Location

So whatever stage your at with your art – my advice is simple – keep drawing! and keep having fun!

Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these strategies and what has helped you learn to draw!

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