Read this : pre-instruction drawings.
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In a very short time, if you do the lessons with some degree of regularity and get active in your learning, you too will be drawing caricatures! I have no doubt. In fact that's a promise.
You'll be stepping into a whole new way of looking at things, and a whole new way of putting your unique stamp on to and into everything you draw. You'll also benefit directly and indirectly from "R-mode's" other spin-off progeny like enhanced idea generation, increased creativity, and laser-like observational skills. You'll even learn another way to relax. And I think that's pretty exciting! But that's a side dish. You're here to learn to draw faces and caricatures. And how do you do that? You dive in and get active...
How do you get "active" in your learning? Firstly, if you have questions while you're doing any of the lessons, you can email me. At the bottom of almost every page you'll find the red "YouCanDraw". There's an email link line in everyone of those. Just click on it, write me a message and as long as I'm able to, I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
If a lesson seems like it has holes in it, if you want more assignments, if you see glaring typos, if you think a lesson needs more illustrations, please also let me know by sending a message. All questions are relevant. If several people have the same question or I think someone's brought up a particularly important point, it will come out in the "every other week" e-communiqué.
Other ways to get active in your learning
Other ways to get active: going to museums, going to the library, search the net, apply what you're learning to appreciate the art of the masters: both in caricature and in "Fine" art. Watch a practicing caricaturist at work, ask questions - if they're open to it - and they always are if they're not too busy. Caricaturists who work parties and work publicly generally seem to have become pretty gregarious and outgoing people.
And send me your pictures! All over this site you'll find reminders for sending your art work to me so I can publish your progress for the whole world to see.
He'll be dropping in now and
then to help
Learning any art is an investment, a discipline, a journey. To learn the fundamental skills will require a minimum of your time. How much? Like an hour a week. Or to start, 15 minutes a day 3 times a week you will make progress. Of course, the more time you spend, the better and faster you'll get. But don't force it! Start with 15 minutes 3-4 days a week. Little stepping stones. Lots of repetition. Trying to force yourself to do too much too soon will only discourage you, even burn you out.
Fifteen minutes a session is enough to start
Forcing yourself to only draw when you have a 2 hour window of time can be counter productive. I used to figure if I didn't have 2 hours to draw, then it it wasn't worth drawing. So guess how much I did? If you said none you're right! I could never find 2 hours. Set up a realistic schedule for yourself, like the 15 minutes of drawing, 3-4 times a week regimen.
Before you do anything, do the pre-instruction drawings! This is an off-the-cuff, shoot from the hip-and-see-where-you're-at exercise. There's no right or wrong way to do them. The only wrong thing to do is judge them. You're probably just starting out. Applaud yourself, reward yourself for being so dang gutsy and adventurous! (Because this is exactly what you're doing - going out on a limb. But it's ok - you were meant to do this.)
Don't let anybody else see your pictures; file them away so in 8 to 12 weeks you can look back and admire the progress you've made. After you've got a good chunk of the foundation lessons under your belt you won't be nearly so protective of them.
The Next Step
You can start anywhere. The way I read a book is like this: I like to get the big picture first so I look over the whole thing. Then I dive in - just somewhere. If I get stuck, I'll eventually find my way back to the first chapter - if that's where I need to be. So look it over, see what grabs you. If you haven't drawn since second grade, I recommend starting right at lesson one.
If you want to go step by methodical step...
If you're looking for a more directed approach, do this. After you've done the Pre-Instruction Drawings, go to the very first lesson: Lesson 1. of the Foundations of Drawing (lessons 1-9). Do all the assignments and exercises in each lesson. Do them more than once if feel like you just didn't get the point Don't dwell on any one assignment too long. If your timer goes off - quit. Come back where you left off.
At the bottom of every lesson there's a link to the next logical lesson so you can link right to that step.Work your way methodically through the assignments one lesson at a time. This is important since all the caricature lessons are designed around the techniques you'll learn there. If you're an experienced artist, it never hurts to do a little review. I learned a couple techniques that have cut my drawing time in half!
Keep a notebook handy. Record two things:
1) the date and lesson you just completed, and
2) and how you felt while doing the assignments.
At several places within the first 9 lessons you'll be prodded to review how you felt. Why? So you can learn to recognize when you might get frustrated, and more importantly, how it felt going in and out of the Artist's mode (R-mode) of perceiving.
frequent but regular
Here's what I recommend. Get a timer. One of those hand wound ones you've seen your mom or grandmother using in the kitchen. They go "ding" just once after "times up".
Set it for 15 to 40 minutes to start (after you've got all your materials collected and at the ready). In the beginning, quit when it goes off! Stay hungry. You'll be looking forward to your next session. And just like building any muscle, your drawing muscles will get stronger over time.
to your first drawing - the pre-instruction drawings:
And that's about it!
(If you want to work bigger than 8 & 1/2 x 11, that's great. I recommend 8 and 1/2 by 11 because it's easy to find and secondly, it's all the bigger my scanner can scan - that's right, when you send me your "before" and "after" pictures, I'll scan your work - I want to show the whole world what you've accomplished!)
Now, Let's get You Started...
Still not ready to start? Read on...
These first drawings aren't going to be judged in any way, I don't want you to show them to anybody - not until you've gotten through the foundation skills section. In fact, after you do the pre-instruction drawings, I suggest you put them somewhere out of sight! When you get to the end of that section, then it'll be time to pull them out and see what progress you've made!
yourself on the back!
This is not a time for judgement or comparisons - you should only be applauded for stepping up to the challenge, for taking the risk. So go ahead, pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.
No skill at drawing? Perfect!
Before you learn to draw caricatures, I'm assuming you have little or no background in drawing. That's great! That's where I want to start. We'll be diving in pretty fast and before you know it, you'll will be drawing faces. Before the anxiety level goes too high, let me assure you: all drawing is the same! It's true. Once you've got a good feel for the basic skills, drawing faces or flowers - anything will be a worthy subject for you.
The Other Bonus to Drawing
faces and Caricatures -
The caricatures you'll be learning here will be mainly caricatures of faces Since the ability to recognize faces is a right brain function, drawing faces helps you to access your right brain modes. Let me say this another way. Researchers have discovered the part of your brain that gives you the ability to recognize faces is physically located in the right hemisphere. People who've had strokes or trauma to the right side of their brain lose part or all of this function. They recognize names, (a left brain function), but not faces. So jumping in learning to draw faces serves double duty for drawing: we want to draw faces and learn to access the right brain. One throws us into the other. So it only makes sense, doesn't it?
I'll repeat that...
As difficult as people think drawing faces is, and right now you might think it is, drawing faces will only accelerate the acquisition of your drawing skills. It still amazes me how complex and unique every face is. In fact, I'm only more amazed every time I draw someone. But that appreciation comes when you slow down enough to really see.
Before you learn how to draw caricatures, I want you to be able to draw realistically. Why? Because learning the steps to draw realistically teaches you to observe more carefully. It teaches you to fully access your "right" brain, a direct connection to your visual sense - at will. Drawing realistically teaches you to observe as an artist does - it's not about creativity, not yet. Drawing is a creative act all by itself - but the kind of drawing I'm talking about here is about drawing what you see.
Creativity will come as your confidence grows, and as you learn to observe both what's in front of you and the small messages, images, and ideas that bubble up out of your own mind and subconscious. But that's a different story - realism will teach you about accessing and appreciating what's there under your nose first. This is "realism" and yes, it teaches you to do that! So, we'll be aiming for realism first. Everything else springboards off that.
And once you see you can draw both simple and complex objects realistically, (especially faces), you'll be filled with a profound confidence: you'll feel ready to draw anything you want to. Faces seem complex, but learning to draw all the small shapes, breaking it down into small manageable pieces will make drawing faces/caricatures understandable and doable. In fact you'll learn any picture or scene can be broken down into smaller more manageable pieces.
Like learning to ride a bike, once you've mastered the basic skills, you can travel anywhere you want: caricatures, landscapes, people, abstractions. etc.
But, before you read anymore, please go to the first assignment: the "Pre-instruction drawings".
I want you to get 4 drawings down on paper so you'll have some way to gauge your progress. And you'll be cheerfully shocked by your improvement as you do the assignments. :-)
I would love it if you would send me your before and after pictures: chronicling your progress as an artist. You might be so tickled with the results of your efforts, you might want to show them off. See your own successful drawing progress chronicled right here at the Insiders Artist Loft and at the "YouCanDraw.com" homepage.
the lesson library
With your feedback this site will be forever evolving. So send me all your suggestions, ideas, and comments. If you think a lesson might benefit with a second or third animation, tell me so. If you think a section needs more explanation, or just isn't clear, please let me know - there's an email link at the bottom of every page. I take all suggestions seriously - and I truly appreciate them. Thanks again for your interest and enthusiasm!
PS So, if you haven't yet, go to the pre-instruction drawings and do them. It won't be so bad. And just doing them will break the ice. Remember to put them away when you're done, show them to nobody, and above all don't judge them.
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