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On Art

How to get better at drawing

  1. Just start drawing.
  2. Don’t stop drawing.

Just start drawing

This, in theory, is the easy part. It’s especially easy for children. Older, less naive, people find that they make excuses when they should be drawing. Whole careers have been wasted simply through the inability of someone to start something. Pure procrastination. Fear of failure. Waiting for the right time, the right mood, the right milestone. Just start drawing.

Don’t stop drawing

When an artist says “I’ve been drawing since I can remember” what they really mean is, “I never stopped drawing.” They didn’t stop drawing when their mother stopped putting their drawings on the refrigerator. They didn’t stop drawing when they didn’t win a prize in their school’s student art contest. They didn’t stop drawing when they got a real job. Don’t stop drawing.

I promise you that if you do those two things that you will get better at drawing. You will be better every day. In ten years you will be better than you are today. It doesn’t have to be hard work, but you do have to work it.

This is the advice I want to give to everyone about everything. There are no shortcuts. The people who you think are inherently talented: just started and never stopped.

Just start. Don’t stop.

Categories
On Art

The Best Art Instruction Manuals: Creative Theory

Over the past two years I’ve been working through a series of books on Art, from histories to theory to manuals. I’ve decided to share some of the best works that I’ve come across. This page, A Very Artistic Library, will be an up-to-date list of recommendations for people who want to learn more about how to create art.

A Very Artistic Library

These are the books that I’ve recently read that address my creative issues. I think I’ll be reading them more than once. I’m spending all this time trying to figure myself out. I’m trying to get out of my own way. I’m trying to harness whatever muse, genius, or creative spirit it is inside of me that will take me where I want to go. And, as I’ve told myself for the last 20 years, trying to figure out what I mean when I tell myself, “let go.”

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

A 12-week program to get your mind together as it relates to creativity. I’ve worked through it twice last year. I’ll be picking it up and working through it again and again.

Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff

Flow: The Psychology of Optimum Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Time and again I’ve heard people talk about flow. This was the book that started the discussion of the experience.

Choose Wonder Over Worry by Amber Rae

I heard Amber Rae on the Your Creative Push podcast. She discussed what she called her Multiple Personality Order. I realized that I needed to read this book. I didn’t want to read it. The first chapter was a struggle for me. I had to drag myself through the book, because it was so relevant.

Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham and Pema Chodron

I originally read Sakyong Mipham’s Running with the Mind of Meditation book last year. I purchased this one without realizing that it was by the same author.

Tales From Both Sides of the Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga

I purchased this book first. It was one of the blurbs on the back that sold me: “…the idea that we all have ‘multiple minds’ operating as a ‘confederation’…” It was too relevant to pass up.

Categories
On Art

Drawing on Escher on Drawing

If you’re ever feeling that you’re not good enough, remember that no artist thinks that they’re good enough. Here’s a quote from M.C. Escher, one of the finest draftsman you could encounter.

“Good God, I wish I’d learn to draw a little better! How much effort and persistence costs to try to do it well. Every once in a while the stress of it all drives me to the point of a nervous break down. It is really strictly a matter of persisting tenaciously with continuous and, if possible, pitiless self criticism. I believe that to produce prints the way I do is almost strictly a matter of wanting so terribly much to do it well. Talent and all that is really for the most part just baloney. Any school boy with a little aptitude can perhaps draw better than I; but what he lacks in most cases is that tenacious desire to make it a reality, that obstinate gnashing of teeth and saying, ‘Although I know it can’t be done, I want to do it anyway.’”

— From a letter by MC Escher to his son November 12, 1955.