|31 May 2000
YouCanDraw.com's Insiders Communique
In this issue:
1) Scheduling your drawing time: the 15 minute-a-day memory drawing
2) Book Review: Burne Hogarth's "Drawing the Human Head"
1 )Scheduling your time
If you've been making steady progress through the foundation lessons - pure
contour, modified contour and upside-down drawing - fantastic! I hope you're
taking your time and are having minimal frustration. Once you're on a
regular drawing schedule (like at least 15 - 30 minutes 4-5 days a week), I
think you'll start getting in "the groove". Know that it's alright if you
miss a session, and it's also alright if you go way beyond your scheduled
Kimon Nicolaides would probably flip if he knew I was suggesting so little
time would produce artists. You will progress - absolutely - if you keep a
regular practice schedule. How fast you progress will have a lot to do with
how fast you learn to "get out of your head and into your
right-brain-r-mode-artist-space". All the foundation lessons are designed to
help you do that. The section on features (lessons 10 - 14), build upon that.
1300 hours a year!
Kimon Nicolaides discovered that with the right types of drawing assignments
(gesture, contour, extended study, etc.), students would eventually "get
it". In fact, Nicolaides drawing schedule was built around a 15 hour a
week, one year long regimen. That's 260.1 days a year, at 5 hours a day.
That racks up about 1300.5 hours in a year! Of course, he was planning on
producing "artists" with a big A. (Not that you won't be! :-)
Attention Deficit Disorder
I think living in this century, we've all developed something of an
"attention deficit disorder" - we're deprived of time to really get immersed
in anything, and in fact I think we're almost trained to compartmentalize
our time with something like a 55 minute limit - to everything. TV further
breaks the pace down everything into 30 second sound bytes. The Net - even
more fragmented. As an antidote - if you think about it - you do get "grabbed" by things ( a hobby, a book, horse back riding, skiing etc.), and next thing
you know, 6 hours has gone by and you feel entirely refreshed...or drained
in a satisfying way.
So I think there's a natural pace we all have to find - and you'll find it
if you try different things.
But 15 hours a week? Who has that kind of time? They say you'll find it if
you're really committed to your craft and when you're ready to take that
kind of plunge. I know I'd love to find that kind of time - and I will
eventually. But personally I've never spent 5 hours a day, week after week,
consistently drawing. Fits and sputters here and there with occasional days
of immersion describes a lot more accurately my REAL drawing schedule. We
all make do if we're even a little committed. And like I've gone on and on
about in the last 2 communiqués, getting over the starting hump is the biggee.
The 15 minute a day memory drawing
One excellent suggestion Nicolaides makes - and I've incorporated as of
about 1 week ago - is doing a fifteen minute drawing from memory every day.
Here it is: Draw the first thing you think of. Do it in a "contour" style,
draw it without ever lifting your pencil from the paper. Just a quick 15
minute scene, an object, a dog, a Siamese cat, a chevy car door, a scribble,
To get you over "the hump"
Put no expectations on it. The intention being just making marks on paper
for 15 minutes. Then get on with your regular drawing schedule (your minimal
15-30 minutes 4-5 days a week schedule). My drawing time has been reduced
to about 2 days a month and I started getting into this approach / avoid
pattern - I was losing my edge. But in a week, this short little exercise
has worked some small magic: I've gotten rid of - almost completely - the
mini-dread of drawing I started developing. Keep a drawing pad and pencil
on the bed stand, in the kitchen, by the throne - anywhere convenient! And
get it done.
So to repeat: add 15 minutes of drawing a day to your regular schedule:
- Do a drawing from memory (of anything)
- Do it without lifting your pen or pencil from the paper
- Do it without any expectation.
- Give it only 15 minutes.
- Do stop after the fifteen minutes.
- Get on with your regular day, (does not have to be done before your regular
It gets you over that fear hump. It's working for me!
And if you're interested, check out Nicolaides book - it's fascinating.
(It's also in the updated Bookstore) :
2) A fascinating book: Burne Hogarth's "Drawing the Human Head". I've had
this book sitting in my library for years. Only recently did I pull it out
to really look at it. And I thought I was going into detail! This guy gets
almost scientific in his approach to studying the head and face. (Not almost
- he does!) It's about 160 pages long, full of his charcoal drawings (which
are at times almost surreal), and goes into things like the changes in a
face over time (from infancy to old age), wrinkle patterns, head shapes
/types, facial and cranial differences between races, etc. It'd be a great
addition to your reference library.
I'll add it to the Bookstore soon, but for now, check it out at Amazon.com:
Until Next time - have a great week and keep on drawing.