How to Draw: 101

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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:

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Draw this:

nose

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

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

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Can You Actually Make Money As An Artist?

In short: Hell to the yes! 

Now here’s the kicker: It’s going to take time and effort.

I know what you’re thinking “Oh great, now she’s going to just say that tired old spiel of ‘work hard and you’ll make money’,” But surprise!! It’s not just that for once. How amazing, right?! I’m actually going to explain some of the key goals and what you can do to achieve them. Alright, let’s get onto what your here for, the good stuff, that is.

1: Money Doesn’t Come Quickly

If there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that making money as an artist can be tough. I mean we’ve all heard the age old adage of the starving artist right? It could take a few months to get your first sale, maybe even a few years and you’ll probably find yourself wanting to torch anything art-related after a point. Don’t give up there though, because when you get that first payment for your work you’ll have that sweet, sweeet moment when you finally get to say “worth it”. (Just… uh… don’t spend it all on coffee within a week… I di- my friend did that).

2: You Have to Network and Market Your art

This is how you can go about the actual process of trying to make money; about 90% of your first sales are probably going to come from referrals by friends, family, or other connections. So get yourself out there; start telling people about what you do and make sure that as many people as possible know that you’re an artist that’s looking to sell their work or do commissions. Carry pictures of your work in your phone and set up social media accounts, websites, etc.; basically any places where people can find you and see your work. Art is subjective and we as artists tend to view our own work more harshly than a perspective buyer would so keep your head up and keep trying.

3. Art is basically a business

Shhh…Here’s the secret. (Saaayyyy whatttt…. its not about the art?) Well yeah…and no. Of course some talent will have to work its way onto your canvas but I’ve seen artists generate a good amount of money selling work that consists of scribbles or magazine clippings taped together. How? They have their business model down better than the average hobbyist artist; Now, if you’ve ever started a business you know its an insane amount of work, and that’s no different for marketing yourself as an artist. People don’t just swoon to you in droves, no matter how good you are skill wise. I’ll touch more on this aspect later but if you want to start learning more about the business side of art; pick up a few business books, podcasts, videos, or whatever it is you can squeeze in the time for (and don’t forget to hit that follow button for my updates, because I’ll have posts on this coming very soon).

4. Get yourself out there

The only way to sell art is to let go of your preconceived notions about your own work and get it out there. Vend at local fairs or try popping up a small table on the sidewalk (just check with local laws first). Try contacting gallery owners, cafes, restaurants, interior designers and pretty much anyone else you can think of who might need something art related; this will get you a good amount of exposure and immediately place you above all the other artists that don’t do this. I actually started in a small, off the beaten path cafe and ended up generating quite a bit of sales with pieces ranging from 80$ – 300$; so don’t overthink it, just get in where you fit and keep moving up from there.

5. Public Murals

Public Murals generate a huge range of viewers to your art. If they like it and you make it easy for them to find you, they will find you. Collectors are hunters; they like to acquire things that not everyone has. They are trend setters, trail blazers and have a taste for uniquity; if you put yourself in their path and they love what they see, they won’t hesitate to support an artist and scoop up a sweet piece of original art to hang on their walls.

6. Establish Value

The more your original art begins to make its way into homes and businesses, the

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The value of your art goes up as it makes its way into people’s homes and businesses.

more valuable your work becomes. Constantly re-assess your “value” and try to keep logs of everyone that buys your work. This isn’t always possible, especially if third parties are selling your work but always make yourself
available to your buyers. There is nothing better than receiving a photo of your work proudly hung in their house, or a short text about how happy your art piece made someone; those moments mean more than the money (to me, at least) because they’re when I get to remember why I started: For the passion and love of the craft.  Although money is necessary and definitely nice to have, remember that it really isn’t everything and what is really important is that you LOVE what you do.

Stay tuned for my next article: Making Art a Business