Drawing For Dummies
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Drawing can bring extraordinary and unexpected dimensions to your life. By adding drawing to your everyday experiences, you can change how you — and others — see the world. It's a powerful tool, one that you can spend a lifetime investigating.

A man drawing an eye. © Eugen Aschenbrenner / Unsplash.com

Just imagine how to draw: On a simple sheet of paper, a magnificent eagle can soar over a snow-covered mountain, a small child can hug an adoring puppy, dewdrops on a rose can glisten in the morning sun, a mermaid can swim with dolphins under the ocean, or a lightning bolt can illuminate a stormy sky.

Drawing on the possibilities

The joy and personal satisfaction of creating a drawing is both your incentive and your reward. The process of discovering this ability enriches all aspects of your life. Think about the following as you consider the possibilities inherent in drawing:
  • Your drawings illustrate your personal perceptions. Drawing challenges you to communicate what you see in a non-narrative language. Drawing allows you to speak without words.
  • Drawing adds a new and exciting activity to your life. With only a few supplies and some basic skills, you soon find yourself taking pride in your new achievements.
  • You can decorate your surroundings with a personal touch. Have some of your drawings framed and hang them in your home. Family and friends may become quite fascinated by your drawings. Don't be surprised if they soon request some of your work for their own homes. Of course, this is a good time to encourage them to take up drawing themselves.
  • Through the eyes of an artist, you appreciate everything around you from a whole new perspective. Drawing is seeing. As an artist, you visually explore the world with a whole new purpose — to find drawing subjects!
  • The act of drawing produces a physical reward. It really doesn't matter why you draw or who sees your drawings. Maybe you hope to one day publicly exhibit your drawings. Or you may choose to only share them with family and friends. You also have the option of keeping them all for yourself. Your drawings serve as a journal of your artistic journey.
  • Drawing is relaxing, mentally challenging, and emotionally stimulating. You CAN draw, and you can improve as much as your interest, patience, and commitment take you. The most important thing is that you are drawing. You are making art.

Discovering drawing . . . by drawing

Drawing is simply creating the illusion of depth and reality by making various marks on a piece of paper. But knowing how to skillfully make those marks is the key to achieving the results you want.

There's no "right" or "wrong" way to draw, but rather an acceptance of diversity and recognition that every drawing, no matter how much you dislike it, provides a chance for you to figure out something new (even if it's "I don't want to do that again!").

Pretty much every new skill requires practice. From picking up a musical instrument to playing a team sport, you don't progress very far without practice. However, the fun part of practicing drawing is that you can draw whatever you like, however you want, whenever you want, and your skills automatically improve. The three most important elements of discovering how to draw are practice, practice, and more practice!

Some practice ideas to consider include the following:

  • Draw everything and anything you love, every chance you have.
  • When you find a skill you're not so great at, such as drawing circles or straight lines freehand, sketch lots and lots of them.
  • Practice drawing perfect alphabet letters. Letters (and numbers) have all the types of lines you use in drawing.
  • Choose what you consider to be the most challenging part of each project you do and redraw that section, or practice this technique over and over.
  • Keep a pencil and some paper handy, and experiment with making marks, lines, and shading by drawing random doodles.

The key to knowing when you've practiced a specific skill enough is when you're happy with your results.

Finding your drawing niche

As an individual, your drawing develops in its own time. You can look forward to many hours with your sketchpad in hand as you search for the style of drawing that is uniquely yours.

Nurture your natural creativity, and keep your mind open to new ideas. The unique artist within you ultimately emerges with time.

Investigating the artist within you

You can find the artist within you! Your drawings can look unbelievably realistic, inspirationally creative, or emotionally charged with energy. As you search for the drawing niche that best suits the kind of drawing you want to do, consider the following:
  • Challenge yourself by constantly experimenting with new media and different styles.
  • Stretch your mind and explore diverse drawing tools. Drawing tools aren't limited to physical objects, such as paper, pencils, and pens. Methods of drawing and seeing, such as using a grid, are also considered tools. Use any tools, skills, or methods you can find to get the results you want in your drawings.
  • Take the time to practice numerous and diverse exercises as a foundation for developing basic drawing skills.

Examining a diversity of drawing subjects

Giving some thought to what you enjoy most in your life can help you locate some excellent drawing subjects. You can investigate a vast range of drawing subjects, including the following:
  • People: If one of your current hobbies is people watching, you have lots of ready-made opportunities to explore drawing humans.
  • Animals: Try your hand at drawing various animals and critters, real and imaginary.
  • Mother Nature: Maybe you love beautiful scenery and nature's splendid variety of flowers, trees, and earthly gifts.
  • Things: Many artists love the challenge of drawing still-life subjects, from toys to trinkets, from rocks to fruits and vegetables, and everything in between.

You can find time in your hectic schedule for drawing, and somewhere in your home is a special place just waiting to be claimed as your personal drawing space. The artist inside you is waiting to emerge and claim ownership of the joys of drawing.

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