How to Draw: 101


Art Lesson 1

In Realism Art, The Artists Perception can be the enemy


Have you ever had a great idea for a drawing, painting or art piece so you grabbed the nearest pencil, excited to get your idea on paper before you fall off of the creativity train?  You start sketching this amazing idea and soon find yourself staring blankly at the paper in realization that your drawing skills weren’t as up to par as you may have thought they were.  The Idea is there but the skill is lacking, therefore we get discouraged and put the pencil down. Some even put the pencil down for good, dropping the idea of creating art like an old flame and never looking back.

We’ve all heard the old adage you cant judge a book by its cover right? A book, a person, an object its all the same.  There is so much more to everything than you see on just the outside.  Its the same with drawing and creating art.  There is SO SO much more to a any given simple thing than what we see on the outside.  Take a lesson from the old artists and learn to see everything you can in life.  The shadows, shapes, personality quirks, strengths, weaknesses etc.

Simply put no one sees life as good as a fine tuned artist.  Artists don’t just see a tree, they have unknowingly trained themselves to see everything about that tree.  How the light hits it in just the right angles, how the shadows create depth, how the direction of the sun glistens on certain parts of the leaves, how the tree moves in the wind etc. Sounds simple enough but it requires more thought than meets the eye. Its an amazing thing to be able to experience life on this level and even if art isn’t your forte I hope that you can use some of this post to learn to take a step back and study the world around you with an artist’s eye. Be open, receptive, observant and non judgmental of everything.

Anyhow back to our sketch or lack thereof, this creative freeze and feeling of “sucky-ness” so to speak is totally normal and all a part of starting anything really.  No one is amazing at anything the first time. Like everything honing your artistic skills takes countless hours of time and practice.  The people that enjoy the thing they do keep doing it and in turn get better over time.  Those that are not really into it move on and find something else to occupy their time.

Art isn’t about seeking validation or praise, Its about expressing yourself in ways that cant be said.  Its your diary, up for interpretation for others to figure out what you are trying to portray.  So no matter how good or bad you think you are, If you enjoy doing it continue to find the time to hone your sketching skills.

A major key to realism that I have learned and continue to learn this day is that our own perception of what one thinks is reality can quite often be the enemy.  For example we think I’m going to draw a nose so we draw what we perceive a nose to be rather than drawing all of the shapes and colors that make up the entire facet of an actual nose.

Its like dissecting the frog in Chem class except your dissecting this nose. looking for every shape, highlight and shadow to piece together to create an accurate image.  You do the same for every bit of the face so you can see why it takes a more time than one would think but I promise you it gets easier the more you practice it. Now of course the below applies to realism and realistic drawing.

How to draw realistically:

Don’t draw this:


Draw this:


Draw the shapes in the nose. Shapes being shadows, highlights, mid-tones etc. and it will all come together like a puzzle.

Stay posted for more on this issue and other lessons I’ve learned along my journey of becoming an artist and happy sketching!

Any questions? Comments? Comment, Drop me a line or find me on Instagram



Oh yeah and don’t forget to check out my art here



Hey and Welcome to The Canvas by Coco!

This is where I’d like to provide you with fun, energetic, and quality content and updates about art, coffee, and some other special surprises! Hm? Hmm? Now, doesn’t that sound pretty great? I would really like for this to become a community of sorts, and for us to all grow together; so don’t hesitate to comment or leave feedback!

Now, let’s get down to the real welcome, but first, a statement of who I am and what I do: My name is Coco Miller. I’m a Coffee addict, a passionate artist, and a beach-bu—*ahem* — I like the beach. 

This blog will be primarily oriented toward art, paintings, and artistry. However I’ll also spend a lot of time talking about coffee and cafes; so this might be anything along the lines of “The Best Coffee Places In…”, my thoughts on specific types of coffee (i.e. espresso vs. regular, or specific beans and roasts), or even cafe reviews.

As for the art side of things, I’ll often post updates regarding my work as an artist; I’ll be putting some of my paintings up for sale, as well as regular updates and interactions live from my studio. I’ll put up pieces with advice on marketing yourself as an artist (“How to sell your art”, “How to get your art in galleries”, etc.) as well as critiques, collaborations, and discussions about art in a broader sense. I’m open to any and all ideas, so comment anything that comes to your mind! I typically work with oil paint, acrylic paint, and canvas; however I often work with clay, pencil, metal, wood, charcoal, and photography. So expect to see a bit of everything here.

A Preview of My Work In Progress “Time Flies”.

If you’d like to order a commission, have any questions, or simply want to get in touch, don’t hesitate to email me at!

Thank you, and I look forward to the flourishing of our artistic and coffee-loving community!