The latest exercise I’ve tackled in the How to Draw Without Talent online course I’m working through is my favourite so far. It’s called “Squares” and the remit is as follows:
With this exercise, we’re just going to go around our homes, drawing the equivalent of little Instagram snapshots of different corners. If you have a frame, just hold it up until you find some random composition and copy it down into a square on your page. It doesn’t matter if objects are cut off or hard to identify. In fact, the more abstracted the slice of life you depict, the easier it may prove to draw.
The most useful piece of advice for this exercise, well-communicated in the accompanying video, is “Each individual drawing may not shine by itself, but when it’s placed alongside another, equally imperfect pal, they all work together.” And it turns out to be true. I’ve filled up three pages so far of “little Instagram snapshots of different corners,” and they variously work and don’t work:
I’m rather proud of the top-right drawing, a scene looking out the front windows of Mad Wok at the building across the street. The one in the top-left, though, is an attempt to draw my type case which failed completely because I got all the angles wrong (if there’s a challenge I face with drawing it’s an inability to translate angles from eye to paper; what I’ve learned is that it’s possible to learn this, but it’s hard learning to retrain old eyes!).
The number one of lesson of this lesson is that drawing is something you only get better at through practice and practice and practice. Which, of course, is true of most anything. So you will see me these days, more often than not, carefully sketching away in the coffee shop where I would have once been browsing my RSS feeds or updating Twitter.