Feeling Hopeless? I Was Too!

I love creating with graphite and have been doing so since I was big enough to handle a pencil. I was always frustrated that that my pictures didn’t turn out like those in the how-to art books. I thought maybe I didn’t have the knack. Or maybe I was just too stupid to get what they were saying.

Fact is, that is how a lot of beginning artists feel. They’re bombarded by all sorts of techniques and ways to do things, and they get confused. And no, it is not their fault. It is because the people who write the books learned the hard way and don’t know how to teach them anything different. Those weird boxes and circles that are supposed to shape your portrait, really are confusing unless you have an experienced eye.

So I blundered around for a while. I thought it was cheating to go off of a picture to get the portrait I was drawing correct. That is, until my parents gave me a video tutorial on drawing by Carrie Stuart Parks, a world renowned artist. I found out that she, a very talented and experienced artist, goes off pictures all the time!

She also teaches graphite drawing in a very easy to understand way. She tells you how to do it and why, rather than just assuming that you can naturally just see it, as everybody else does. She also has several helpful and amazing books on realistic drawing which you can find here.

After watching the video, I was encouraged and decided to try my hand again using her advice… and it worked! Okay, so I didn’t become a pro overnight (of course), nobody does.

Below, I compare before and after portraits that were drawn only a year apart. I did the first ones free hand (not going off a picture) and the second two from a picture (remember, it’s not cheating!). The reason I want to share this with you, is to help you realize that it is possible, no matter how “bad” you think you are, to draw good quality pictures in a relatively short amount of time. I hope you are encouraged and inspired to go check out Carrie’s books and video and begin to draw the things you love!

As the examples above show, just with a very small amount of  education, I was able to greatly improve my technique. Of course, I’m still learning and perfecting. But I feel that I have come a long way from a year ago.

I believe that truly anybody can learn how to draw. No matter how good or bad they feel that they currently are. It isn’t just about the talent that you were born with (that is apparent in very few people), it’s about what you do with your interests and learning the best you can. Put your mind to it, and see what happens.

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” ~ Napoleon Hill

8 thoughts on “Feeling Hopeless? I Was Too!

  1. I have never pursued drawing, but since a couple of my sisters have taken up the art, it interests me greatly. I really love your drawing of the young black girl–her expression is so lifelike and sparkly. And I’m pretty sure I know the woman in color–that is, that I’ve seen her before, when I lived in Virginia. Where are you from?


  2. You’re amazing, Melody! Takes a lot of humility to write that last paragraph, and at first I didn’t agree that anyone could draw like you do, but the more I think about it the more I love your perspective! Still, we vary so much from person to person, and I think the part of your artwork that makes it so amazing is something from within you, not just talent or something you learn from an instructor, and that is your ability to capture the spark of life in the person that makes them who they are and portray it in your drawings. THAT is what is so incredible to me when I look at your drawings! Love you, dear niece!


    1. Thanks Aunt Fern!
      Yes, my favorite part of every portrait I do is drawing the character and personality of the person. One thing that is really missing in a lot of modern art is life, which I believes stems from a lack of knowing the one who gives life – Jesus.
      Love ya bunches!


  3. I must say your doing great! I would have recognized Wendy even without a name. You captured her beauty so well! and that was even before 😉


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