Not a pro yet

by Avery Elliott

Okay, so I'm not exactly a pro yet. These are some of my drawings from about a year ago. I've found this website very helpful, but my drawings are still very primal, granted I am 15, but I was wondering if you could tell me what I'm doing wrong with them, and how to make them more realistic.

Doug's comments:

Hi Avery,

Thanks for sending me your drawings. Your horse has nice lines in it. The full-figured one is a nice gesture drawing, simply meaning movement that looks natural. Learning to draw gesture is a HUGE part of art. The portrait of the girl is interrupted by stitching in a book so it's hard to comment on that one.

In terms of making things look more natural and realistic, there's really only one way to do it and that means learn "eye-hand coordination". (You might want to do a site search for that term to see where I make reference to it.)

But let me explain simply what eye-hand coordination means. It simply means that when you look at something, there will be a direct connection between your drawing hand and your eye. There are many exercises to learn how to do this, but I'll mention a couple of them. The more adept you get at eye-hand co-ordination, the better your drawings will become, and the easier they will become. I'm STILL working on perfecting eye-hand coordination.

In a nutshell, that is what you want to learn to do. There are specific exercises to learn this skill. One of the important things to do when you are drawing, is to not look at your drawing hand so much, but rather, keep your eye on what it is you are drawing. Initially this will be awkward for you to do, but believe me it will work.

Let's say you are drawing a face. Draw the nose, but keep your eye on the person's nose. Don't even look at the paper, then look down at the paper. The odd thing is, the lines will be much more "alive" when you do this, even though, until you learn to do it, you're going to make all kinds of wild mistakes. I don't think of those as mistakes ... I think of those as part of the learning process.

There is a book that served as my "bible" when I was studying artwork. It is called "The Natural Way To Draw" by Kimon Nicolaides. I talk about it on the page called "Drawing Books". Its full of exercises on how to train your eye and your hand to work together. Its a great book.

I don't think it would be too advanced for you. Remember, start learning to draw looking at the subject you are drawing, rather than looking at your drawing hand. Naturally, every now and then you're going to have to take a look at your drawing.

Best of luck, and keep drawing.

P.S. I forgot to tell you one thing that is very important ... give your shadows just as much attention as you do the rest of your drawing. Shadows can become a whole study in itself. Properly placed shadows will give your work power and reality. You'll see that if you look at my site.

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This is what helped me ...
by: Anonymous

Keep drawing ... you have a lot of ability. My best advice is to try some life drawing classes or experiences where you do a lot of 30 second or 1 minute drawings on cheap paper. If you work on capturing the "gesture" of your subjects, it will loosen you up. Then your longer, sustained drawings will look less stiff. This is also a good way to do quick shadow studies ... totally agree with the importance of drawing shadows, etc.
Best of luck!

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