charcoal and white pastel on Canson paper
There is such a rush with some beginning artists to want to have a finished piece completed in such a short time. Unfortunately, that usually isn't the case and frustration bubbles up when it doesn't look as anticipated.
Drawing consists of a number of stages that need to follow in order for the drawing to be successful.
1. Decide on the size of your drawing so that it fits on the paper.
Running out of space on a page is a common problem for beginners. By marking boundaries for the top, bottom and sides of the space you want the drawing to reside in, eliminates this problem.2. Measure the size of the objects so they are in proportion.
Each subject has a specific height and width in the picture and establishing a basic unit of measurement provides the tool to ensure the the object is in proportion and ensures it is in proportion to other objects in the reference.
3. Block in the basic geometric shapes that you see in the subject.
All objects, when brought down to a basic shape, are made up from geometric shapes: circle, square, rectangle, triangle or cylinder. Look closely at your subject and establish the broadest shapes.
4. Start to define shapes more accurately.
Once basic shapes are in place, its time to start refining those shapes to reflect the subject more accurately. Use an H pencil and light pressure for all construction lines, so they can be easily erased or incorporated into the drawing.
5. Block in values.
Establish light, dark and mid values. These provide the form to the subject. Value mapping is drawing the shapes of values and provide a guide for adding values to your drawing.
6. Refine values.
Mid values are the most difficult for beginning artists to see. These are the ranges between very dark and very light and can have several values between the two extremes. Careful observation is crucial to see and understand the subtle value changes in a subject.
7. Add detail.
Jumping in with detail or highlights too soon in a drawing gives you a false sense that the piece is finished. Sharp details of light and dark and highlights should be the very last thing you add to a drawing. If added too soon, it's almost guaranteed that you will draw over them. Again and again and again before the drawing is complete.
8. Be patient.
A drawing takes as long as a drawing takes. There is no prize for finishing quickly. Build the drawing slowly, step by step. 80% of time should be spent looking at the subject, 20% drawing. Observation is so important to achieve work you are happy with.9. Practice.
Along with observation, practice is the most valuable method of becoming proficient at drawing. No amount of art materials, reading art instruction books, watching DVDs, admiring other drawings, or taking workshops will give you the skills that practice will. Without practicing drawing skills, progress will be minimal and diminish over time.
Practice. Every day. Even when you don't want to.