Before you decide whether you can or can’t draw, read this!
Last week, I re-organized my art supplies. Paints and painting mediums got a more accessible location, and pens and other drawing supplies went into a closet. It was a consequence of the revelation that I had become a painter.
But instead of declaring the love for painting, this post is about drawing!
Namely, my journey in art has been gathered around finding my line. To me, the line is the voice. It’s the leading singer, while colors and heavier shapes are the rest of the orchestra. The line itself is enough to make any piece of art sing.
“I can’t draw” was my problem for too many years. Then I realized that we define drawing too narrowly.
We aim for the skills of drawing realistic objects and then end up worrying about the stiffness of our work. “I want to be more spiritual, I want to be more abstract, I want to see me in my drawings.” Have you ever thought like this?
My solution was to abandon references and start drawing circles.
Don’t Just Draw Circles!
Those years spent with circles now felt like a waste of time. I didn’t have guidance for freehand drawing, and I did what felt comfortable at first. But circles are closed and rigid shapes, and when you want to open up and loosen up, you need to open and loosen your circles too.
Here’s a short 4-minute video from 2017 that shows how you can move forward from drawing circles.
Drawing – like any art – has two sides.
One side is a skill of controlling a pen or a brush so that the result is attractive and aesthetically pleasing. But drawing is also a skill of getting out of control and expressing the limitlessness of the mind.
For me, exploring drawing from the other angle was ground-breaking.
I developed a class called Inspirational Drawing, where we draw and color freely but also use inspiration images to boost imagination. Inspirational Drawing 2.0 is the latest version of this popular class.
You know you can draw when drawing feeds inspiration.
When I paint, I start with a vague idea and go where happy accidents lead me. I don’t need much to get started. The first idea can be just a color combination from an old painting.
By practicing inspirational drawing, I found my living line, and the energy that’s packed into it is enough for any sized painting. My line sings, and the rest of the orchestra supports it.
So, isn’t it sad if we try to improve our art without paying any attention to our line?
If we try to release the expression without releasing the line, giving the full power to the leading singer?
If we say we can or can’t draw without allowing free expression?
What do you think?