Learn to Draw before you Paint!
When I was in high school I wanted to take some art classes, every year I signed up for every class I could on the subject. My dream was to become a fine artist.In my day they didn’t have the classes my granddaughters can take like painting and sculpture. We only had drawing and calligraphy classes, so I took them every year. At the time I didn’t realize that I was training my eyes to “see’ which is something an artist needs to learn. It enables you to cast a critical eye on your own and others' work, and to distinguish the visual processes in artworks.The theoretical art movement that is popular in some art schools de-emphasizes the educational approach to drawing, and instead concentrates more on the conceptual course of action involved in art-making rather than on developing the eye and hand in the conventional way. This works for abstract but not for realistic art.
If you don’t know how to draw how can you expect to paint realistically? One needs to know how to draw basic shapes and shade them to make them look dimensional.
The art of painting on a canvas realistically is really just drawing with a brush. If there is no basic drawing in the artist’s background it will be much harder to paint something and make it look real. For example: If you want to paint landscapes you need to know how to draw all the aspects of a landscape before you can paint it. Of course you could follow the way of Bob Ross and just paint “happy little trees”, but if you look closely at his artwork you will see a lot of errors with his drawings, the perspective is off in lots of places.
When you first start to draw, remember that all artists had to start from scratch. You are not alone. Lots of the old masters didn’t have the capability to draw easily, they had to work at it.I have found that is best to make it a rule to follow your heart in art. Draw and paint what you love and what know, it does not matter what it is just "love" it! When you draw and paint what you love you progress faster.
Here are some tips to help you learn how to draw.Remember that developing into a professional artist takes talent, sacrifice, discipline and lots of hard work. You will need to increase your knowledge and skills. You need to be disciplined with drawing, practice actually “looking” at something you are drawing. Discover all the smallest details of it and capture it the best you can with your pencil!
Buy the best quality supplies you can afford. If you want to be a professional then you need to use professional quality art supplies. I love to use woodless pencils for shading and tracing paper to practice on. You need to actually "forget" what an object looks like and to concentrate only on it as a form in space. Don’t draw what you think it looks like, draw what you see.Before you start ask yourself how wide is it, how tall is it, is it in the foreground or background. Is it dark or is it light. Finding these relationships and representing them is what figurative drawing and painting are all about.
Before you can produce a good piece of art, you have to warm up! I like to sit and doodle a few minutes before I start. This helps my brain get in the right creative mode.Start with loose, gestural sketches. Keep things simple at this stage. I like working on tracing paper so I can lay a new piece of paper over the first sketch and make the corrections without erasing. I usually have several drawings before the final piece is created.In this rough stage it is time to pay close attention to your composition.
Make sure that the viewers eyes are going only where you want them to go and the edges of your image are not distracting or leading the eye off the drawing.
Remember that improving your drawing skills take time and the more time and the more sketches you create the more you will learn and have the basic knowledge to move onto realistic painting.One last thing…. never throw older or bad art away. Keep everything carefully stored, so you can come back later and see how much you've improved. It's also good inspiration for the future!