9 Pieces of Advice for a Beginner (drawing)
This is a short list of advice directed to anyone that wants or have begun learning to draw. All of the advice in this post is based on my own opinions, not on scientific surveys. They are a condensed version of most of the best advice that I have previously read or received, combined with my attempts to answer questions and give critiques about drawing over the last 12 months. I wrote this down as if it was directed to a past me, because I pretty much did the opposite of what Iím about to write here for the first two years.
Before we get on with the actual list I would like to say, to those who donít know me, that I am not a master draftsman. I donít draw perfectly and I donít know everything. In fact I learn something new about drawing everyday. But maybe thatís the point, because this list is intended for people who are learning as well.
1. Be honest
The more you learn the more you will realize how much you have yet to learn. Beginners rarely call themselves beginners, and they neglect to study and learn the basics. Be honest about your abilities, you canít learn something if you think that you know it already.
2. Be patient
Rome was not built in a day. Drawing is a skill that requires lots and lots of practice, just like most skills do. So make sure to have fun along the way, donít be afraid to share your drawings; donít be afraid to be proud of your drawings. People that draw better than you will not laugh or flame you, as they were once were where you are now. They recognize your frustration and they will probably try to help you if they can. Unless theyíre assholes of course, in which youíll just have to ignore them.
3. Be confident
Drawing is just a way to communicate, like speaking. If you speak loud and clear then people are more likely to listen to what you have to say. Likewise, if you draw with simple and confident lines people are more likely to have a closer look at your drawings. As an added bonus, using confident lines will also give you an overall confidence in your ability to draw.
4. Draw for a reason
Whether a drawing is good or bad does not depend on how pretty it is. It depends on how well it manages to communicate the artistís initial idea. Make it a habit to define your goals for a drawing before you start it. If you manage to reach your goals then your drawing is a good drawing, no matter how pretty or not it happens to be. If you donít reach your goal than you will know why it didnít and you will be able to figure out some way to improve based on that.
5. Avoid ďHow-to-draw ÖĒ tutorials
It is much more important to know why someone drew something like they did than it is to know how they did it. If you know the ďwhyĒ you will be able to apply the same ideas to your own drawings whereas if you only know the how you will only be able to copy something that you have memorized. Invest your time in proper books and videos about drawing instead of the countless step-by-step tutorials found on the web.
6. Draw something new every day
It is better to draw at lest something every day than it is to sit with a drawing for ten hours once a week. (Of course both alternatives are better than not drawing at all)
7. Avoid scratchy lines
Even though this may seem bothersome at first it will allow you to draw both better and quicker once you have gotten the hang of it.
8. Sit comfortably while you draw
Lock your wrist and use your elbow and shoulder to draw. Sit straight and donít lean in over the paper as you draw. This will allow you to always keep the big picture in mind as you are drawing. If you experience that your drawings often tend to lack in proportion, symmetry or that they are simply curving around on the page then it is probably because you have bad posture as you draw. Sitting properly will also save you possible pain in shoulders and neck. If you are unsure about how you should sit I urge you to check out this video by FZDSchool. It covers a bit more than just ergonomics, but I don't see any reason to make a video of my own when there's already good material out there.
9. When in doubt: Draw
Sooner or later you will experience your first art block. An art block can be described quite simple as a lack of inspiration; you will have a hard time coming up with stuff to draw and you will feel dissatisfied with what you do manage to draw. This is perfectly normal, and you will most likely encounter art blocks throughout your life. Blocks can be caused by a number of things, but whatís important is that there is only one way to deal with them and that is to draw.
That is the end of the list. I tried to keep everything short and to the point. I hope that at least someone will find it helpful, and if you have any questions just post them and I will get around answering you as soon as I can. Take care =D
Also a thanks to Demonfyre, who helped me quite a bit with polishing this text up to something that's a bit more readable than my initial draft.