Thursday, October 21, 2010

The First Step

Anyone can learn to draw. I say that in the same way I would say anyone can learn to read, meditate, speak a language, or take up an exercise routine. Will you become a professional bodybuilder if you take up exercise? Maybe, maybe not. But you will improve your physical fitness by establishing and following certain habits. In this same manner, you can learn to draw better than you probably thought possible.

In fact, drawing, like reading, is limited only by your ability to learn patience and concentration.

Where do you start? First of all, buy, and start, a sketchbook. You can then just leap into drawing—there is nothing wrong with that approach, but I’d suggest starting with the same questions you might ask yourself before taking up a fitness routine:

1) What are your aspirations? Why?

2) What do you hope to accomplish?
3) How do you plan to do that?

If only briefly, consider these questions. Why? Because learning to draw is really learning a series of different, complementary, skills. Depending on your goals, some skills are more relevant to learn than others. A distance runner has a different training regimen than a sprinter.

So buy a sketchbook. Any sketchbook will do to start. If you keep at it and keep buying sketchbooks, you'll begin to prefer one type to another, but right now, just grab one that looks okay and go. Building the "activity habit" is the point at this stage.

On the first inside page, create a simple “title page” just to get you started. If drawing something intimidates you, just glue in a picture you like. Anything. Just put something on the page, along with a date, a title, etc. (“John’s Sketchbook #1”, whatever you like.)

If you like, on the next page you might write down some of your drawing goals—some people like to write in sketchbooks—some people find it too revealing. It’s up to you.

Also, on the inside front cover, be sure to put your name and contact info. It is inevitable that at some point you will lose a sketchbook. Include your name, email, etc. and “If Found please contact” note with your name and email or some way to contact you.
Few things are as heartbreaking as a lost sketchbook.

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