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The other week I was wondering if I could learn to draw, if it was too late, whether I was too old. I asked that twitter for some advice, and got the customary "just practice" advice. "But, I really can't draw," I protested, "I'm not even sure what a pencil is, let alone which end to use." I'm not one of those comics writers who can draw but not well enough, I just can't.

At our D&D session I did some doodles of things on the table; I posted them to twitter and I showed them to people in the pub on Wednesday. I had been lying.

How is it that I had decided that I couldn't art? I literally haven't done anything at this level since I was 14. I think the answer is: art teachers. But clearly I can do the perspective OK. I think I learnt that in technical drawing rather than art?

I've set up a tumblr now, featuring my scribbling. Some of this I'm actually quite proud of. I've decided I am Good Enough at backgrounds now for the purposes of making comics, and I need to start drawing faces and people. I've done some of these but they are terrible and I have not felt able to post them to the tumblr. (I will happily show people in the pub.)

So that's what I'm going to spend my month off doing, learning to do that well enough to draw up one of my own comic scripts (one of the more talky ones, probably). Interspersed with writing and lunching and so on, obv.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/425249.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Date: 2014-03-06 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com
Oh, those are excellent! You can definitely draw. :-)

Art teachers have a lot to answer for. Living with a professional graphics designer and artist who got an ?E in GCSE art has rather helped me realise that...

Wrt drawing faces and people, something I've found helpful is drawing from photographs, and turning the photograph upside down (or flipping it if it's on a computer) before starting to draw. Works surprisingly well - I think because it's easier to draw what's really there, rather than letting the brain go, "ooh, I know that face!" and make shit up. :-)

Date: 2014-03-06 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abigailb.livejournal.com
That makes sense, I will give it a go!

Date: 2014-03-06 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blue-mai.livejournal.com
ooh very good! (and I mean really, much better - observation as well as pencil technique - than most of my students who are supposed to like drawing and do it a lot. supposed to.)

about the being able to do perspective thing - would it have anything to do with working in the 3D thing, and thinking about that? (I don't know how involved you are with the spatial/3D/visual side of things)

Date: 2014-03-07 08:04 am (UTC)
ext_3375: Banded Tussock (Banded Tussock)
From: [identity profile] hairyears.livejournal.com
Drawing is a skill, not an innate gift, and it can be taught.

The skill is very dependent on practice: you can lose it through inactivity; and the proficiency of the professionals (and 'gifted' amateurs) is a function of their persistence and of the encouragement they were given during the early stages when the results weren't very encouraging.

A competent drawing instructor teaches efficient practice. There are a lot of tricks and shortcuts (and inefficiencies to be avoided) that can and should be taught; and this makes your practice more effective, reducing the months of unrewarding labour at unsatisfactory sketches.

After that, a basic technical competence will either develop into perfect line art and beautiful technique, or not: it depends whether you want to put the work in. For some, the perfection *is* the art. But, at a satisfactory of technical ability, it's about *what* you draw: art, not artwork, and a great idea makes a great image at any passable level of skill.


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Abigail Brady

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