Here are some of the things you might be experiencing:
You can see more clearly all the things you could do better, but aren’t sure how to get those skills
You are in a rut doing the same type of practice and your skills have plateaued
You can draw reasonably well, but it seems like a huge leap to get to the expert level of your favorite artists.
If you’re experiencing any of these, don’t worry. A sequence of exercises will take you from these experiences to big breakthroughs in your artwork.
If you’re experiencing these things, let me lay out a path forward for you:
Be patient with yourself. Our eyes always advance more quickly than our drawing skills, so we can see what is wrong before we can improve it.
Assess your skillset to identify areas that need work most
Start to build the skills you need systematically through exercises (more on that below)
When your mind starts making up reasons to avoid those exercises you don’t want to do, politely ignore it and do those exercises!
Consistent, smart practice is the key to getting to the next level.
Below are the fundamental skills you need to work on. Read the entire list and then ask yourself which of these you are weakest at. This is the area to go and do exercises on next.
Basic observational skills
– Major landmarks of the torso (Fresh Eyes challenge)
– Major muscle groups (see our anatomy articles here)
Simplifying values (check out this tutorial)
Gesture (go to our gesture series)
So at this point you’ve identified the next skill area to work on. It’s time to make a plan!
As you looked over the list above, which skill areas stood out to you as areas you need to work on? If you’re not sure which skill you should work on, try our self-assessment guide. You’ll go through a series of simple questions to determine which skills you have and which to work on next.
You can then make a monthly plan for building those next skills you need. This article provides an effective way to make that plan.
Remember that working on new skills can feel difficult. Sometimes you feel you are going backwards even though your skills are progressing. (To learn more about the stages of learning each skill, check out this article).
If you would like monthly guidance from me and to learn together with a group of equally passionate life drawing students, consider our Life Drawing Study Group. We pick a topic each month to work on and we focus on exercises to build that skill. The skills always relate gesture, form, anatomy and values.
Learning to draw is a process that looks different to everyone. Below is a case study of Love Life Drawing student Scott – we hope his story inspires you to keep going with your practice!
Scott studied with us on our Life Drawing Simplified course in mid-2021.
After the course, Scott kept on working hard and practicing and then
joined our Study Group when it opened. It has been so fun to work with
Scott and see the incredible transformation in his drawings.
How did Love Life Drawing help you on your artistic journey?
Without Love Life Drawing, I would not be where I am today and I owe a
big thank you to Kenzo, the LLD team, and the wonderful community with which I have grown and seen so many others make bounding improvements. The vast impact LLD has had on my artistic journey is profound being my launch pad into the world I had so admiringly wanted to be a part. Not only have I seen improvement in my own personal studies, it has also transferred into my professional work too.
How has your mindset changed?
Learning life drawing has been a great journey and one that has been filled with many moments of frustration and then triumph. Through these moments, I can see times where my confidence has grown whether it be in approaching unknown territories for the first time, such as dynamic poses, foreshortening, or even learning from master studies. I have always struggled with the voice of doubt, however, I now have the confidence to take on the challenges within life drawing and enjoy the process.
What was your biggest breakthrough?
l began with the ‘Life Drawing Simplified’ course through which I had
my first breakthrough quite early where I grasped the simplified shapes and lines of the basic human form. My second breakthrough came about while studying as part of the Love Life Drawing Study group in which the simplification of form, gesture and values all began to make good sense in theory and practice.