Art: Stuart Goss

Today’s guest blogger is Sketchbook Skool student Stuart Goss, who shared this series of sketches on our SBS student Facebook group and this post from his blog, wordslye.com.

Some time back, I looked for tips on The Net, hoping to find the secret to learning how to draw. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure I found what I was looking for, but it took me over a year to realize that.

You may think this is way too obvious, because the “big” secret is that you need to draw some, draw some more, and then draw even some more. Eventually, you will begin to see some improvement. You may get worse at it first. Why worse? Because something is changing, and this takes its toll on the set of tricks you’ve been depending on until now, and because you’re improving your own skill at critiquing drawings. The real secret to drawing something impressive lies in you learning how to see. Not just to see with your eyes, but also your heart and mind. You cannot learn this on YouTube or from any book; you need to practice it. For hours and hours. Days and days. Months and months.

There were a few more secrets. Here are the ones that really work for me:

  1. Get a sketchbook and take it everywhere with you. Go places especially to draw.
  2. Forgot your sketchbook, or don't have one yet? Draw on anything you have available (envelopes, letters, cards, boxes, bags).
  3. Draw from life as often as possible.
  4. Copy from the Great Masters (or anybody whose drawings are being displayed).
  5. Don’t worry about the tool, but consider using ink over pencil (no erasing possible).
  6. Spend 10 minutes each day just practicing drawing straight lines, ellipses, and circles.
  7. Look into gesture drawing, even if you don’t want to draw people.
  8. Draw lots of quick poses, faces, hands. You can get timed photos on http://quickposes.com.
  9. Look at your best attempts for a bit, but…
  10. Move on to the next drawing!

Recently I drew over one hundred faces in one night, each one in 30 seconds. It got pretty tedious towards the end, but this is what I’m talking about: draw, draw, draw. Every day, I must remind myself that these hours and hours of practice are necessary to get anywhere with this skill. And the hours of practice can be fun!

There are no shortcuts.

What do you think is the secret to learning how to draw? What tips can you add to Stuart’s list? Share your secrets in the Comments below.

Stuart Goss is a Sketchbook Skool student living in Germany. His blog bio reads: “I draw. I draw a lot. I draw all the time. I enjoy drawing. I enjoy practicing.” Read more about Stuart’s sketching journey and see his work on his blog, wordslye.com.

Filed under categories: Community, Inspiration