Art Tip #1    From Carol Worthey

Why Learn to Draw?

Carol Worthey

Learning how to do any artform demands knowing what the BASICS are and learning how to do them with skill, ease and understanding. These basics can be learned bit by bit, but if they are missing, all the fancy-dancin’ and complexities will not make up for the lack of basics.

The basic skill that underlies all visual art is drawing skill. This is so true that if you examine the great painters and architects of the past you will find that uniformly they were phenomenal draftsmen and keen observers of life, people and nature. Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Vermeer, Renoir, Degas and Picasso practiced this skill until it became second nature to copy what was around them to the point that they could then infuse it with their own vision and stylistic personality.

Drawing skill underlies all forms of visual art and creativity: Painting (Landscape, Portrait, Still Life, even Abstracts), Sculpture, Architecture, Computer Graphics, Set Design, Advertising and Marketing Presentations, Interior Design, Fashion, Jewelry Design, Furniture Design, you name it --- if you can’t draw, you can’t present your internal vision, leave alone an object out there in space and time.

What would portraits be without some resemblance to the person being portrayed? I recently saw a retrospective at LACMA of David Hockney's portraits and was amazed by his versatility of style and media but most impressed by his drawing skill, whatever style or media he employed, from realistic to wildly inventive.

I once met a watercolor artist who said, "I can only paint. I hate to draw. I don’t know how to do it, so I just use a brush and spread the paint around in the direction I think it should go." After struggling with the fact that noone had successfully taught her how to draw, she had given up. You can only draw with paint IF you have spent at least a bit of time learning how to draw successfully with pencil (charcoal, pen, crayon-pastels, whatever). Otherwise results will be haphazard.

But is Drawing Skill only about creating better Artworks? Not at all! Read on.

Next: Is It Really Possible to Learn How to Draw?