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General Drawing & Painting Advice

Jun 05, 2015 | Be the first to comment here.

So how to draw and paint?

The following suggestions are aimed to help you easily overcome some initial difficulties and to maintain your interest. These are summarized as follows. (Many of these issues will also be dealt with in Manny’s art blog).

Some philosophical issues:

  • “Just do it”: a favourite saying of active people, and a stroke of genius by the Nike company. It encompasses the idea that life is short. There’s no time like the present.
  • At first, have no expectations other than to have a pleasant time playing. If you’ worrying about how to make this new pastime produce valuable works, or how to earn a living from it, you’ torturing yourself
  • Get as many instructional books and videos as you can, but do not be ruled by any single author’s or teacher’s ideals. Understand that no advice can entirely replace your own efforts and practice.
  • Celebrate your failures and mistakes because they are evidence of your practice and training. Keep some of them to reflect back upon, at a later time in your journey. Nobody makes masterpieces right from the start. Most masterpieces we see are the result of a lifetime of effort.
  • Despite all the information you can gather from others, it is the lessons you learn by pushing yourself in your practice that will be the most valuable, and most unique to your work.
  • Don’t worry about finding a “style”. Work at it long and hard enough and you won’t be able to get away from your style finding you.
  • If you’ not enjoying it… you’ doing something wrong. Go back to playing.
  • Be wary of elite artists pulling up the ladder behind them, discouraging you by insisting that nothing but the most expensive gear is worth using; that only such and such a paint or paper or canvas is considered good enough etc.

Some practical advice:

  • Start with the most basic and affordable materials. We recommend everyone practice drawing since it is the foundation of all art practice. It is also the most immediate and direct form of creative self expression. It is highly meditative. It is immediate and gratifying.
  • Acquire copies of works that you like, and surround yourself with them. Study them and ask yourself what it is that you like about them
  • Try to see an experienced artist working in the medium you prefer. Watching the way they handle the materials might save you countless hours of experimentation. (e.g. attend Art Shed’s free in-store demonstrations)
  • Attend seminars and summer schools and join groups with similar interests. They can all provide very useful information. (see our links)