Amateur or Professional, it doesn’t matter, we’re all artists at the end of the day.
Every professional was once an amateur, so no matter your skill level don’t ever let anything or anyone discourage you from picking up a pencil and starting to draw.They say it’s the journey that’s the best part and not the destination right, so why not apply the same principle to art? Enjoy your time first learning and understanding how it’s all done and every time you create a piece of art, use that same piece as a lesson to ask yourself “What could I improve next time I draw this?”
Know the rules, in order to break them.
In order to build a house you first need to lay a strong foundation. Learning the basics of drawing works in the exact same way. After understanding the basics of drawing, like how line work and light play such an important part, you can then combine those skills to produce beautiful work.
Why being “sketchy” is a good thing…
A sketchbook is one of the best investments that you can make as graphite artist besides buying a good pencil. It is a unique and perfect opportunity for sharpening your skills over and over again, without that little voice of fear telling you that you’re wasting precious expensive drawing paper. The best part is that you can either show it to the world and revel in how much you’ve grown or keep it completely private and away from the public eye. Don’t be afraid to have multiple sketchbooks that you’re working on at the same time. A great way to keep track is to label all of your sketchbooks so that you can keep track of which one is which.
Get better materials, to get better results.
You wouldn’t but a bumper sticker on a Ferrari, so why use expensive pencils on cheap paper? Understanding how materials interact with each other can make or break your piece. For example; charcoal and graphite can be used together to produce the darkest shade of black in a drawing without producing that “shiny” graphite look. However, if you put down graphite first then put charcoal over it, it will not blend well. So a really great tip to remember is charcoal first, then graphite, just like in the alphabet C comes before G. Also, just because you’ve now dropped two hundred bucks on good materials doesn’t mean that you magically become a better artist. In order for that to happen you have to, wait…get ready for it…that’s right…practice!
Practice, practice, practice!
"Why is practicing so important?" you might ask. Well unless you’re a child prodigy, you’re going to have to practice in order to become good! Also just for the record, prodigies still practice as well…just saying. Remember “practice makes perfect,” and that couldn’t be more true! Every time you practice you continue to build your skills and the more you practice and challenge yourself, the better you will become. A great example I love to use is that body builders weren’t born with the muscular bodies that they now flex and flaunt. They got up every day, went to the gym and trained; they first started lifting a small weight until their muscles grew and they were able to lift heavier weights. The same principle applies to your brain, the area in your brain that you use for art needs to be trained and exercised and with time and dedication you will see the results.
Draw what you see and not what you know.
Folks, the sub-heading says it all. A lot of times when drawing from still life and figure poses, we tend to draw what we know or think is there and not what we’re actually seeing in front of us. This is something that we were taught growing up and with practice and understanding how to look at life figures, you can overcome that hurdle.
Try something new…except sushi from a gas station…trust me…it’s not worth it…
(Seriously, don’t try sushi from a gas station). Work on your drawing skills outside of your comfort zone. Many times artists get trapped in this mentality that you have to be at home, listening to your music, in your favorite pants, or listening to your favorite song or the best one yet: “I have to be in a certain mood to do my art.” Let me ask you this: do you have to be in a “certain mood” in order to breathe? If you answered:“Yes - alive,” I love your sense of humour, but the reality is ‘no,’ because it comes naturally. It’s a reflex hardwired into your brain. This same principle can be your mentality towards art.You can create your art no matter where you are! This now leads me to my next point….
The only thing holding you back is you.
There are words and phrases that you need to eliminate from your vocabulary when you decide to create any drawing, the following are a few of them: “I can’t draw that,” “I don’t know if I can draw that,” “I’m not really good at drawing,” “This drawing sucked,” “I’m a horrible artist,” or “I don’t think Star Wars is a great saga.” I can tolerate all but the last one! Instead of pumping yourself full of negativity, you have to approach it with an open mind because no one else is holding the pencil in your hand except you, so you can do this! If the drawing doesn’t turn out how you expected, that’s alright, failure is a good thing! Failure means that you will learn and that you will get better each and every time that you put that pencil to the paper. So in the wise words of Bob Marley: “…None but ourselves can free our minds.”
'Phite Club is a 6 week graphite drawing class being held at Art Nest Creative Studio on Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm starting on June 6 to July 11. Spaces still available. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to register. After the course we will be hosting Phite Club meet ups where graphite artists can continue to practice and develop their skills in a more social setting.