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!
“Meagan” After; Freehand
“Wendy” Before; From picture
“Vanessa” After; From picture
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