"Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad." Salvador Dali
This trip to Kathmandu was a last-minute decision. Nobody knows you're here. You're walking down a strange lane in this strange city and you spot your cousin Nadine across the street. You can't believe your eyes. Nadine you say is that really you? Really? 11,000 miles from home? Of course it's me, you've known me since you were three.
I would call that absolutely 100% proof positive that you know exactly what Nadine looks like. Except you don't. If you did you could easily sit down and draw her portrait. So why can't you draw Nadine's portrait?
It all comes down to the nature and purpose of vision. It is imperative that we know what's going on around us all the time. While walking down the street we need to be aware of the possibility of:
a hungry lion jumping out from behind a bush,
a toddler wandering into traffic,
a hole in the sidewalk in front of us,
and the gazillion to one shot of your cousin Nadine showing up.
The amazing fact is that you can actually do this. This and a whole lot more. But only if you have symbols for everything. For example, somewhere in your brain, you have to have a symbol for your cousin Nadine and another symbol for a lion. In fact, you have a symbol for everything single thing you ever seen or experienced. The alternative to having symbols is having to know every single wrinkle and pore of Nadine's face. Same for the lion and for the kid. (Without having symbols you would not be ready for life until at least your first colonoscopy.)
Believing that we use symbols to understand what we see, seems strange at first. Nevertheless, it makes sense. The first Lion a child is ever likely to see would be a cartoon lion in a childrens book. an excellent symbol, but it really doesn't look like a lion. Yet for the rest of Nadines life, she will know what a what a lion looks like. When she sees the real thing in a zoo, she can just attach any new information to the original symbol.
The problem, in a nutshell, Is that we have convinced ourselves that we know what the lion looks like. In fact we only know what our symbol looks like. We will never learn to draw until we admit that we don't know what anything looks like. If we want to draw something, we are going to have to look at it first and keep looking at it until we are have drawn it. And the really, really, really hard part is that as we draw we keep forgetting that what we're drawing looks nothing like the Way we think it looks. Like the symbol.
Make a copy of someone's signature. Take your time. Try real hard. Take as many tries as you like. Get it the best it can be.
Is it good enough to cash the check or are you going to jail? Don't answer that. It can be used against you in a court of law.
Take the same signature. TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN. Make a copy. Will this copy pass muster. I will bet you that the branch manager herself will cash the check.
What just happened. it was very difficult to copy Joe's signature because you know what the word Joe is supposed to look like. However, when you turned it upside down it was no longer the word Joe. it was just a jumble of lines and curves. Very easy to copy.
Take the three viseo lessons offered at the bottom of this page. Take them in order. They will help with the mechanics (the nuts and bolts) of drawing.
After that practice, practice, practice. If you do, I promise, in 30 or 40 short years. you too can be a master.
P.S. There is a book " Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain ". If you're serious about learning to draw, you should probably pick up a copy. In my experience there is nothing better.
PPS: I have serious doubts about this right brain / left brain concept except. Nevertheless, it's clear that were talking about some part of the mind although not necessarily which part of the mind.
1 - Drawing Using One Point Perspective
One point perspective is probably the best entry point for anyone wanting to draw. That's
because it has rules. Rules are wonderful because you can follow them. The further we get into art,
the fewer the rules; also the more meaningless the rules.
So start here. You will be happy you did, or your money will be cheerfully refunded.
3 - Drawing Round Objects In Perspective
Linear perspective applies to everything, including round things. When you see it done,
you will realize that you knew it already. Nevertheless, its not intuitive. This lesson will make
handling round objects easy.
Just make sure you start with the previous lessons, one and three point perspective.