Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Learning to Draw

Well, I did it: I ordered a book (some seem to believe it to be *the* book) on learning to draw: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards.

Years ago, Mom went through the early portion of this book with us kids, but I don't think I was more than ten or so at the time. It's been awhile. About all I remember is drawing birds, and even then, my younger brother (now a graphic design professional and an artist in fact) was so obviously so much better than me I hard a hard time even trying.

I don't really fancy myself an artist, but there are times when I wish I had the ability to sketch ideas visually as well as verbally. I'm also just curious to see what it does to the way I perceive the world around me, what details I notice and retain. Seeing more clearly is as much a benefit for writing as it is for drawing and painting.

I'm looking forward to this little adventure!

What about you? Do you ever draw or paint? What do you feel you get out of it? What do you like best? What do you find challenging or frustrating?


Joe V said...

I have some primordial drawing talent, but can't seem to find the time to work on it. I keep saying that if the photography grinds completely to a halt, I'll take up drawing or painting. I'm currently reading a book on David Hockney, whose work I admire. Perhaps I should start with the Brushes app thingie on the iPad as a way to learn, as he's shown what's possible even with that.

notagain said...

I am constantly attracted to drawing tools. I have many ideas and lack the dexterity to render them. I get one tolerable drawing in about 15, yet for some reason I don't feel that way about my carved rubber stamps. Maybe i cut myself slack for doing them backwards?

Elizabeth H. said...

I think in general adults tend to be way too hard on themselves when doing art of any kind. As if we aren't allowed to do it imperfectly, even when we're just learning. As if it's somehow wrong to experiment, to just play. I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

I went through a period a few years ago where I let myself play more, goofy as that sounds: made carved stamps with cut potatoes, decorated paper with patterns made with the typewriters, messed around with construction paper and glue, doodled, etc. I think we get actual practical mental benefit from breaking outside of our adult mold a bit now and then, and I should do more of it.

sjb said...

I have been working with soft pastels for years, on and off. I think I show promise, but promise is nothing without hard work to get good. Just like writing, and everything else in this world. I found that I was moving forward the fastest when I had a weekly class to attend. Otherwise, life seems to get in the way.

MTCoalhopper said...

The tale I tell is that, at an early age, I gave up crayons and picked up drafting pens. Thus, I never learned to doodle, properly.

So, when my college library decided to replace our well-worn (and well-circulated) copy of Betty Edwards' book, I cabbaged onto it. It has joined my growing collection of "how to draw" books that, someday, I hope to start applying. For all my drafting skills, I still can not do an "artist's rendering" of a house plan.

One surprising thing about Edwards' book is the chapter on handwriting. Even for those who have no interest in drawing, that section is enlightening, with regard to using fountain pens.

Elizabeth H. said...

I didn't realize there was a chapter on handwriting. That should be interesting!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are both interested in learning to draw and sketch and paint just for our own enjoyment. It would be nice if we showed some overt talent (we don't) but that hasn't stopped us before. We accomplished everything we wanted with photography, technically and creatively, and that challenge is gone. The interest in visual expression remains strong. We consider drawing and painting as the next step: more creative and more personal.

Thanks for suggesting the book. I'm getting a copy from the library tomorrow. At this point we can only learn more.

Jeff The Bear

Elizabeth H. said...

I got the book yesterday, in time to do some perusing over the weekend. I think some of the exercises have changed slightly since the original, and of course this time I'm actually reading it for myself instead of just being spoon fed tiny bits, so it's a bit intimidating, but I'm still looking forward to this!