Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to Make Your Pencil Drawings More Effective

Most children feel that they can draw wonderful pencil drawings and most adults think they don't know how to draw at all. Or an adult will say, "I used to draw great when I was a kid, but I could not make good pencil drawings when I got older."

We all used lead pencils, colored pencils, chalk, and crayon when we were small children, but somehow most of us left them behind around the time we received our first pen.

Did you ever consider that perhaps you think you can't draw simply because you haven't used a pencil in years and are out of practice? Or maybe you've lost that child's ability to draw what you actually see rather than what you expect to see?

It's true that naturally artistically talented individuals will excel in pencil art as well as in watercolor, pastels, acrylic, or oil, but it is also true that anyone can become competent enough to produce an accurate pencil portrait.

Most of us had some training as children in the art of drawing. Unless you showed exceptional artistic talent as a child and pursued an education in art, your instruction in drawing probably ended by secondary school. What if your literature training had stopped at children's rhymes, history at the Industrial Revolution, or geography lessons were suspended just when the New World was discovered?

The good news is it's never too late to restart your drawing education. All it takes is five simple assumptions:

You can draw. You can make a dot, a square, a circle, a triangle, a straight line, a curved line. Everything in nature consists of geometric forms and lines, in infinite combinations and formations. You were born with the ability to mimic these forms, so it's just a matter of practice to be able to reproduce and control them.

You are drawing for yourself alone. Drawing is an educational process, like reading, writing, or studying history. It's a tool of discovery that every thinking person should strive for competency in. You are ready to open your mind. See things like a child sees them for the first time. Admit to yourself that you've forgotten how to look and open your mind to seeing what's really there and not what your brain has conditioned you to see.

You will suspend criticism and judgment of yourself. Be ready to loosen up, make messes, experiment with drawing materials and get your hands dirty. Forget the terms "artistic", "good", "bad", "talent".

You are ready to take instruction. The art of drawing is ancient and there are elementary techniques and principles which are easy to learn. Be open to training and be ready for lots of practice. Learn from books, drawing classes, or take private lessons.

Mastering the skills to produce competent pencil sketches and pencil portraits will give you a fresh appreciation of the pencil art of the masters. Visit a museum or gallery, or study the pencil drawings of famous artists in art books. Frame a few reproductions and surround yourself and your family with these inspirations.

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