Whether you’re a 3D animator, stop motion, traditional 2D, or anything in between, having a certain comfort level with a pencil in hand is extremely valuable as an artist. Here are five opportunities to raise that skill level and vanquish the fear of an overwhelming blank white page!
#5 Don’t Draw One Thing
So many people find something they like to draw and never go any further. For animators, it’s very often a certain style or single cartoon. The problem with this approach is that when you lose interest in that single cartoon or style (which will inevitably happen, no matter how passionate you are at this very moment) you have nothing to fall back on. You haven’t built drawing skills, you’ve built copying skills. So even though it’s hard (and can often be frustrating) practice a great variety of styles and subjects. You’ll be much better off in the long run!
#4 Watch a Master at Work
Thanks to the Internet it’s now possible to sit and watch a great master while they are drawing. While studying their final works can invoke strong desire to “be that good,” by actually watching in real-time (not a sped-up video please!) you will gain insights into HOW they create their masterpieces. You may see that they erase lines constantly, searching for that perfect placement. Maybe they use shorter strokes than you would have assumed. Who knows what you’ll discover?
On top of that, while watching videos is very helpful, watching LIVE drawing- in person- can be truly inspiring. So never pass up the opportunity to sit and watch a master at work!
This is a tricky one to practice, but it’s something you should keep in the back of your mind. A shaky, timid line will never look as beautiful as one from an artist with a command of his or her tools. Tell yourself that you can draw and you’ll be halfway there. Flip the switch in your brain from “Meek” to “Masterful” and the quality of your work will shoot through the roof. Just remember to keep humble outside of the drawings. It can be easy to over inflate your ego when you’re so sure of yourself with pencil in hand!
#2 Try a Different Medium
Being proficient with a pencil always comes in handy, but did you know that switching to a medium you’ve never tried can improve your all-around skill in ways mastering one tool never will? Maybe you’re a bit shy when placing a line, worried you won’t “get it right.” Grab a thick black Sharpie marker and you’ll have no choice but to go for every stroke! Who says you have to draw on paper? Grab some scrap wood and see what the texture will produce from your art. The best part of this option is that you never know when you might discover something you love that you never tried before. (I personally learned that I ADORE a nice, soft, super-black charcoal like this one on sketchbook paper. If it wasn’t so messy, I’d draw like that all day every day!)
#1 DRAW MORE
Yes, it’s the obvious one and everyone tells you it’s true: Drawing more produces better drawing. Much like a pro baseball player has to hit ten million baseballs before his swing is something special, you need pencil mileage if you want to excel. You must get out the proverbial 100,000 bad drawings that hide inside you. The bad news is there’s no shortcut here. The good news is you can practice this right now, and if you do then tomorrow (or even ten minutes from now) you will have improved! So don’t waste time saying you’ll practice or thinking about digging out those fancy pencils you got last Christmas, just grab the closest tool and scrap of paper and get to it! It’s worth your effort.
What are some things that you’ve found most helpful to improve your drawing? Leave a comment below and we’ll add them to the list!