This is partof my how-to series. The first blogs will deal with subject matter, equipment, and simple exercises to gain control with your drawing or painting tools. I am a self taught artist and I work in graphite, colored pencil and inks. If this can helps one person in their journey of visual expression, then I am successful.
One of the most daunting things that every artist faces is "what do I draw". If you are a beginning artist this can be the most intimidating decision you will make. If you choose something that is beyond your grasp, then you are setting yourself up for dissapointment and fustration.
Often we choose something that resonates within us, but if you are a beginner or are teaching yourself, we sometimes do not make the right decision. I draw from photo's and do freehand work. One of the tools I use is an Artograph projector to enlarge a photo to scale, especially one that is complex.
For the artists who are just beginning to get their mojo happining, the simple and familiar subjects are a great place to start. Simple lines, shadows and tones are all a part of the learning process. Leariing to shade and apply tones is very important for the colored pencil artist. I started my drawing life by using graphite as my medium. The great thing about drawing in graphite pencil, it is easy to correct and some amazing results can be achieved. I only moved on to color when I felt confident with my grey tone skills.
The next item you should consider is the paper you are working with. A good sketch pad or notebook with quality paper is essential to achieve quality work, especially if you are going to want to market your work. Their are so many papers and boards on which ot draw it almost makes you dizzy. I use a good 140lb coldpress watercolor paper. Why? It is durable to my style of drawing and I have used this type of paper for decaces. I know how far I can push the paper and how many layers it will take before I erase or burnish a hole into it.(not a fun thing to do). You have to experiment for a while and see what paper is best for your style of work. There are many wonderful books available today that speak about papers, equipment, and doing textures.
The type of pencils you use should be a professional grade. Their are many to choose from, all of them will perform well. If working with colored pencil, you should make a basic color chart. Why? Your pressure with the pencil is uniquely yours, the depth of color and layering is strickly under your control. This chart is for you alone. This gives you an idea about the color you are using and a quick visualiztion of a tone.
Something simple to draw.
Here is a photo of a Japaneese Pussy Willow bud that you are welcome to download, copy and draw. This was taken in my backyard in 2006. It is simple in that it has few lines, but if you look closely at the bark, there is a lot of shading and texture that could make this jump off the page. There is also a challenge to do the fuzzy background.
On the other side of this, do not let yourself be intimidated by attempting something that is more challenging. Don't bully yourself yourself by constantly being negative with your work or afraid to display your art. (We are our own worst enemies).