This is a wrap up and review of my project, a self portrait drawing aday for 20 days. What did I learn? Did my drawings improve?
I missed five days, so only fifteen drawings and not twenty.
Today I gotall the drawingsout and put them up on the wall side by side. It’s interesting how much the standard varies.Overall I can see an improvement from the first few to the last few, which is good news, but the progression hasn’tbeen a straight line. Quality wise, they zig zag up and down.
As you go through the series, the proportions get generally better, as first I dropped thedrawing grid then themeasuring. It seems counter intuitive, but the drawings tell that story pretty clearly.I think I may put some measurement back in, but no more than the height and width and the head I think,anything more seems to introduce distortions due to bad measuring.
Looking at theproportions of the human head has beena big help. Whether theright brain drawing exercises have helpedor not I don’t know, it’s a very hard thing to define. I still find the idea very interesting though, and my intuitiontells me that there’s something in it, so I plan to continue with some experiments and practice along those lines.
Which brings me neatly to the main point. the conclusion that this project has brought me to is that all I needto do to get better is practice. Seems pretty obvious huh? But sometimes when I do two or three bad ones in a row Ican find myself doubting it, wondering if there’s some secret trick I haven’t learned yet. That’s bollocks of course,and just a product of weak moments. If you want to get better at drawing, in fact pretty much anything,all you have to do is practice.
It’s about training your eye, or more correctly your brain, to observe things as they actually are, and not allowyourself to scan quickly over something and assume you’ve seen it properly. Chances are, unless you’ve spent sometime quieting your inner chatter and just sitting and looking, that you haven’t seen properly at all. I think thishas a much greater bearing on the quality of the work produced than techniques or materials. You can read allthe learn-to-draw books you like, try all the materials and techniques you like, but at the end of the day you have tolearn to see properly, and the only way to get that is to practice. Since I want to learn fast, I need topractice a lot. Simple really.
So I don’t go off the boil, I’ve set myself to draw something every day, no matter how simple. Some of them willbe portraits, self portraits, some just a little sketch of something lying around or a copy of an old master drawing,but as long as I draw something every day I’ll get better every day. Every drawing will train my eye alittle more, regardless of the subject.
Posted 26th December 2005
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