How to Fast Track to Better Drawings

The Simple But Hard Truth.

Is there a fast track to better drawings? A little more than a year ago, I posted an article about the key ingredient to self-improvement when it comes to your drawing (or anything, for that matter). It’s probably the answer many of you would rather not hear and likely roll your eyes at, but it’s the truth and there’s no getting around it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Sorry.

If you want to improve, practice is essential.

The truth is, if you want to improve, you must…absolutely MUST…practice every day. There is no magic pill, fairy dust, or secret sauce. The fast track to better drawings is practice. Before you roll your eyes again, let me ask you a question. Not a trick question, just a simple yes or no question. Is drawing (or whatever you’re trying to improve) something you’re passionate about? Think about it, now. Don’t just say yes without considering what passionate truly means. Merriam-Webster describes passionate as an “intense degree of zeal, devotion, or enthusiasm”. In other words, do you think about drawing damn near 24–7? Does it qualify as an obsession? Does it (or the desire to do it and do it well) keep you up at night? Do you find yourself daydreaming about working for Marvel, DC, Image, Warner Bros. Animation, Disney, or Pixar? Or maybe you dream of showing your work at a gallery, complete with the fancy opening, hob-nobbing, wine and cheese? Or maybe you just want to be able to do it for your own pleasure and to perhaps wow your friends every now and then. If that’s you, then you’re passionate about it.

Stop dreaming and start doing!

The next question is…if you’re passionate about it, why the eye rolling when I say you need to practice every day? It should be your license to do what you want without guilt, not a chore. Here’s the thing…experts the world over and throughout history will tell you that you simply cannot improve without putting in the work. But if you’re passionate about it, it shouldn’t feel like work!

Trust me. I get it. I resisted for a long, long time. The idea of committing to anything on a daily basis (other than my personal hygiene) not only felt like a lot of work, it was downright intimidating. But, I realized that I wasn’t getting any better at this thing that I was supposedly passionate about. So, I had to take a hard look at myself and ask the hard question… “Do I want to improve or not?”

Now ask yourself. Do YOU want to improve,or not? Well…do you?

Perhaps all you need is a new perspective.

I know I did. I had to change my perspective from practice (which somehow turns minds off) to getting to do what I love every day. As food for motivation and inspiration, I allowed myself the luxury of perusing the social media sites of artists that I admired. I also allowed myself the luxury of watching the how-to videos produced by many of those artists and other creative organizations, like the Gnomon Workshop (they even have a whole slew of free YouTube videos!).

It didn’t take long for me to fixate on artists such as Kenneth Rocafort, who was posting daily sketches of his own. And so, in 2014, I found the same sketchbook he was using with dated, blank pages. The dated pages kept me accountable and so did my decision to post each sketch daily. It’s amazing how a growing fan base will also keep you accountable! The small size of the sketchbook (2”x”4) made the daily sketch idea less intimidating. I am proud to say that I made it through the entire year.

Daily sketch from early 2015

What ended up happening (besides my skills taking a turn for the better), was that I started getting more requests for commissioned work. Bonus! It got to the point where the commissions were filling up more and more of my free time, so much so that I was unable to keep up with the daily 2015 sketches. In hindsight, I kick myself for fighting the idea of a daily drawing practice. Nothing but good has come of it. I encourage you to take the challenge of daily sketches. Go out and buy a small sketchbook. The one Kenneth and I used has been discontinued, unfortunately. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go buy a few small sketchbooks (enough for the year) and date the pages yourself. Make a commitment to post your dailies on social media. By the end of the year, you’ll not only improve in your skills, but you’ll gain a sense of real accomplishment and pride for having stuck with it.

Give it a shot! If you’re serious about wanting to improve, taking a step towards that goal every day is crucial. It really is the only sure-fire fast track to better drawings.

To read the article I posted last year, click here… Daily Sketch: One Positive Step to Perfecting Your Craft

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Myra Naito

Myra Naito

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Freelance copywriter who is passionate about art and fitness. Check out my art blog at mnatiodesigns.com/blog/ or follow me @mnaito_fineart .