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January 5th, 2010 #1
Dpaint's Drawing from Life Survival Guide
It seems like there are many artists on CA who want to start drawing from life to help improve their skills. Having drawn from life for quite a few years now I thought I would create this simple guide to help you survive the cruel world out there.These guidelines have helped me draw for many years hopefully they will help you too.
Before we start the list; here is a little tip you might not know about if you are starting out. Everyone is familiar with pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners but keep a razor blade handy also. This little tool will allow you to go back and slice out any offending pages that the eraser just can’t get clean enough. Trust me there will come a time you will want it.
1 Be Discreet
Unless you are an A type extrovert that craves an audience look for places you can blend in and people might not notice you stealing their souls by making an image of them. I always try to find a place to draw from where people cannot sneak up on me from behind. When you first start out there is nothing worse than having a bunch of people commenting on your work and your ability while standing right behind you and acting like you can’t hear them.
2 Some places to draw
Public squares, parks, coffee shops, pubs, The bus station, the airport, the train station, just about any mass transit system. You can also stay home and draw using a wardrobe mirror or set up casts or a still life. Family and friends are usually good for poses especially on holidays or special occasions
3 Sketchbooks are not Aphrodisiacs
While there are men and women attracted to artistic types. Beware. We are artists for a reason and usually that reason is a lack of badassness in the Mixed Martial Arts sense of the word. Nothing will get you in more trouble than drawing the wrong person’s significant other as a naked forest elf. While artists are naturally attracted to beauty, drawing someone in public when their jealous spouse is near could get you a black eye. Be aware, and size up any potential threats before you start to draw that cute person you see across from you in a sexy come hither pose from your imagination.
4 Flattery is smarter than Caricature.
Resist the urge to make that person who looks like a character from the Narnia movies, a character from the Narnia movies. This could put you into the same situation as #2 you also don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings if they happen to see you’ve drawn them as Cthulu.
5 Draw in Groups.
If you can find a group of likeminded artists, it is allot more fun to draw in a crowd. This isolates you and people are more reluctant to disturb a group allowing you to focus and actually get some drawing done. Also in groups you can just draw the people you are with since you will all be holding the pose for roughly the same amount of time.
6 Don’t be a Statistic
If people aren’t your thing and you feel like drawing landscapes make sure you don’t sit on the side of the road. Doing so will possibly get you killed by someone who is driving and texting and didn’t notice you there. Seriously it could happen. If you must draw on the road at least put your car between you and any potential traffic and sit far enough ahead of it, that if an idiot does hit it they don’t push it on top of you.
7 Be Prepared
There is nothing worse than getting to your favorite drawing spot and realizing you left your sketchbook at home two hours away. Organize a setup that will allow you to carry everything you need in some sort of satchel or backpack all at once. Have extra pens pencils erasers and sketchpads. Before you leave check it to make sure you have everything you need. When you get home replenish your supplies so the next time you go out everything will be there for you to create your masterpiece.
8 Have Fun
Drawing is hard. Drawing in public from life is even harder. That being said, leave your bad attitude at home. If drawing is such a chore then find something else to do. People that are interested in art don’t need their head bitten off because you are having a bad day. Fall in love with the process and realize nobody draws as well as they want to. Set aside the time for drawing and make an effort to improve one thing about your work every time you practice.
9 Create a Legacy
Every time you start a sketchbook put the date in the front of it. This does two things it lets you look back a few years from now and see how you’ve improved and it will let you know if you’ve been slacking because there is nothing new in it for six months. It is good to have a record of your work.
10 Take the Money
Value what you do, if you draw outside long enough, eventually someone will ask you what you charge for your work. Have an answer! You never know if that person could potentially launch your career and how they dress is not a good indicator of how much they are worth. Decide before you go out what you would say to someone if they either ask to buy what you are doing or they want to commission you to do something for them. I don’t know is not an answer.
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January 5th, 2010 #2
January 5th, 2010 #3
January 5th, 2010 #4
Thank you for this post! It was great.
January 5th, 2010 #5
January 5th, 2010 #6Registered User
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- Dec 2008
- Manhattan, NY
- Thanked 288 Times in 256 Posts
January 5th, 2010 #7
January 5th, 2010 #8
Since one of the risks of drawing in public is being seen as some sort of perv, it makes sense to have a few drawings with you that show what you can do, rather than a blank book - and that the sketchbook you use for sketching strangers in public should not have pages in it that look like the kama sutra!
January 5th, 2010 #9
I like the suggestions everyone. Especially the ninja look and having some drawings already in your book. Thanks.
January 5th, 2010 #10
Regarding #10- it's implied by the title, but to add on to this don't give your stuff away. A friend of mine who is a very talented landscape painter used to say "Oh, this is terrible, you can just have it". Later, she found out through the grapevine that the person she gave the painting to for free would have paid $200 for it.
January 6th, 2010 #11
January 6th, 2010 #12Make a sketchbook happy, feed it a tip to improve!
January 7th, 2010 #13Registered User
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- Oct 2008
- Thanked 32 Times in 32 Posts
Hey, great post! I too struggled with drawing from life in public and I think tha guide would be great for all the noobs to take advice from..
If you really tend to think that other people will think that your life drawings will totally suck, than you can always doodle a quick cartoonish loomis styled face or something from immagination.. showing that "hey, i can actually draw something," if it helps you to feel more confident in drawing other people from life in there.. but yeah lol, if that immagination cartoon face would look like a caricature from a person in that bus, it wouldn't be that good idea..
One thing i also like to do (mostly when i'm in the car) and riding around, is to look outside and draw thins, light poles, some houses etc.. i mostly try to look at them, memories them and draw them quickly.. another fun activity, good way to take notes about buildings and environment.
It's a lot also in your head.. If you analyze a little bit, then you realize that you have absoloutley no reason to panic, what other superficial people, that you will see only once in a life time in that bus would think. If you use the public transport on daily basis, and do a litle calculation, then you realize that there is a great ammount of time for drawing, and it would be stupied to not use it, because some people are going to give you a dirty look or something..
- Dave MacLeod,
- Marc Anderson,
- Dennis Kessel,
- Martin Frank,
- Kelvin Liew,
- Principe Daemoniorum,
- The Red Raeburn,