How to be less tense when drawing.
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    How to be less tense when drawing.

    When I'm drawing, pretty often I'm very tense and nervous about the whole process. Do you have any tips on how to stay relaxed and not so uptight during drawing?

    Thanks.

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    I think I can appreciate what you're talking about; I don't find 'sketching' to be relaxing because, for me, it's the equivalent of brainstorming-- I'm trying to push myself to make something work. On the other hand, I find developing the drawing and inking it to be very relaxing.

    I guess my only suggestion is start with drawing something you don't really have anything invested in, just to get yourself a little loose? I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I saw one artist on the site draws an entire page of concentric circles before he/she continues, and I actually adopted a similar strategy myself... I'll usually draw something nonsensical or an object near me before investing in my actual 'idea' sketching.

    Anyway, hope that helps in some way.

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    There is a time to be tense and there is a time to be loose. Allow yourself to doodle, to experiment, go with the flow, without expecting any result, just being loose for being loose; I call this 'drawing with the middle finger'

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    Quote Originally Posted by gfxapprentice View Post
    When I'm drawing, pretty often I'm very tense and nervous about the whole process. Do you have any tips on how to stay relaxed and not so uptight during drawing?

    Thanks.
    Do it so much that it's natural to you.

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    I find myself getting tense sometimes and it has alot of ill effects. When I say tense I mean what the method actors mean, which is muscle or mind action not necessary to the task at hand, read this
    http://www.theatrgroup.com/Method/relaxation.html

    I think a good thing to do when drawing or painting is to simply watch yourself, and keep an honest dialogue of how you feel about the work as you are doing it- I think that will be your hermes guide so to speak. I notice when a picture is going bad that my hand will be holding the pen in some sort of death grip, I'll be pushing way too hard on the surface, my teeth are probably clenched. Once you are aware of this you gain the choice to start behaving differently.
    I can always tell in painting when I am tense because the textures get killed off quick from plowing around with the brush too hard (not thinking doesn't help either).

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    gfxapprentice just try to have fun. If you mess up a drawing nobody has to see it. There's always another page.

    Hope the picture below cheers you up.

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    I find most of the tension comes from not being confident in what you're doing. It's seeing the image in your head and then realizing your hand isn't copying that picture.

    Find out what way you're most comfortable drawing or sketching. From reference, really abstract, start with scribbling, precise lines, careful measuring, etc.

    Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes.

    Draw over and over and over until you're no longer tense. Treat it like exposure therapy.

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    I dont really get tense, but I do try to make it Intense for myself, that seems to be the only way I can enjoy it. Which is more of a brainstorm chaos sketching type thing.When I draw for myself, I might pull out a reference or two, but I draw as fast and as accurately as I can without fear or tenseness.

    However if I'm drawing for a school assignment, I never know what level of dazzle my instructors really want, so I probably go perfectionist and a little mad on assignments for school.

    I had an assignment just last week , where I had to find a drawing from the rennaissance and copy it. Well, before I continued to work on it the same day, my instructor said something about work ethic, and that Sargent would erase to blank canvas if he didn't like how something was going. well maybe this was subconcious in my mind, but I did remember part of my drawing not working for me, I was halfway complete with the drawing, and decided to erase about four hours worth of work. I was hoping that by erasing parts of it and fixing the proportions the rest of the drawing went faster, however I was also a little bit afraid of dissappointing my instructor as well.

    In a sense it was kind of worth it; the instructor gave me an A right then and there. But, there's also very little joy in the drawing. If you put the image on a dolly, or enlarged it and put the images on top of eachother, other than the twisty fabric, much of the image would probably overlap almost perfectly.

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    One thing you could do is experiment with vine charcoal. It's pretty fragile though so you don't need to press hard at all. Or you could hold your pencils at the end, put your work on an easel, and just start mucking around to get loose. Draw big too. If you start off small, you'll start tight and get tighter. By big, I mean pick up an 11x14 or larger sketchbook, and just go to town.

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    Take a pen, put it to paper, and don't take it off, literally, don't even take it off a single bit, sketch in one stroke. Seriously, it works like a charm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    There is a time to be tense and there is a time to be loose.
    There is a time to be deliberate, there is a time to be precise, but there is never a time to be tense.


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    Your doing it wrong

    Ok seriously since I have been through this I have a solution but it will sound a bit crazy. When you sit down to draw dont do exercises dont sit down to 'study' or anything. Figure out why you want to draw in the first place and what you enjoy and whats fun. Grab some paper and a pencil and have fun. Get images of what ever you are into, giant robots, historical architecture, the female form and just have fun.

    As long as your enjoying it your doing it right. After you have done this a lot you will begin to become addicted. You will be wanting to draw all the time. Then you ease into study and focus and exercises and book study without takeing the fun away. There wont be the pressure. Your working to improve but only second to working to have fun.

    If its not fun whats the point .. be an accountant. But you know it IS fun you just have to go back to that point that urged you to take this path.

    Its saved my life

    Good luck!

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    Oi! I'm an accountant. But, yes, fun has to come first or you're not going to learn anything. I was too tense when I went back to life drawing after 30 years and found scribbling helped me loads - in pen, so I couldn't go back. Art is more fun than accountancy and one of these days I might be able to have fun everyday. Being a solicitor is even more boring as you have to consider every single word you say as opposed to writing your musings about whether figures are true and fair and can be relied on - that can be revised before being published.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    Your doing it wrong
    You're doing it wrong too.

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

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    Man I disagree with all of you who have said drawing should be fun. Art is not fun, if you are doing it well in my opinion. It can be soulfully satisfying, it can instill a sense of pride but I never think of any knid of art- painting or drawing as fun. When I'm working I never say woohoo I'm having so much fun. No I'm too busy trying to make something worthwhile. It is hard, hard work requiring every bit of concentration and ability; if it doesn't why bother?

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    It's fun if you like being frustrated and solving complex problems, which I usually don't like doing. However, when it comes to art I genuinely enjoy creating things. Art is both work and a good time to me (when I've finally figured out what the hell I am doing).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Man I disagree with all of you who have said drawing should be fun. Art is not fun, if you are doing it well in my opinion.
    Work is more fun than fun.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Man I disagree with all of you who have said drawing should be fun. Art is not fun, if you are doing it well in my opinion. It can be soulfully satisfying, it can instill a sense of pride but I never think of any knid of art- painting or drawing as fun. When I'm working I never say woohoo I'm having so much fun. No I'm too busy trying to make something worthwhile. It is hard, hard work requiring every bit of concentration and ability; if it doesn't why bother?

    Wow, sorry you feel that way. As for me, I think that drawing is hard AND fun. I fail to see how the two things are mutually exclusive. It reminds me of sports in a lot of ways: if you're going to be good, you'd better pour in every ounce of effort and concentration you've got. But that doesn't mean you don't enjoy the process of practicing and learning, because you just LOVE the game.

    On the other hand, I used to be an aspiring writer, and so I can see where you're coming from. A lot of writers will say, "I hate to write, but I love having written." That's exactly how I felt about it. Writing fiction for me can be an excruciating process, even if the end result has to potential to give me incredible satisfaction.

    Thank god I don't feel that way about art.

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    Don't get me wrong I love to paint and draw I would never use the word fun to describe the process though.

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    Have a double of whiskey while you are drawing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Don't get me wrong I love to paint and draw I would never use the word fun to describe the process though.
    for me fun = enjoying myself.

    I find reading fun but I don't go "woo hoo" I think this is more a word disagreement than a disagreement over the intent behind the word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    for me fun = enjoying myself.

    I find reading fun but I don't go "woo hoo" I think this is more a word disagreement than a disagreement over the intent behind the word.
    I don't know about you guys but when I get up from the drawing desk my heart is racing, and I'm breathless and sweaty like I just got off a roller coaster.



    (Ok I think you're right.)

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    I have fun when I'm sweating, I enjoy sweating. Believe it or not, it's possible to sweat and draw, it just takes alot of of lines, no breaks, focus, and constant drawing. As fast and as quickly as you body will let you, so lose your mind, it's just going to slow you down, make drawing instinct, just play the sport of drawing.

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