Hello there. First let me put my situation in question:
I'm a beginner in arts. Mainly pencil drawing and sketching. Deciding to learn, I bought the Betty Edwards' well-know book, "Drawing with the right side of the brain" and Bert Dodson's "Keys to Drawing"... I have been using Edwards' book for the last 6 months (slowly, as I'm not a professional in the area and I my carrer is not linked to it). I haven't opened Dodson book yet.
Yes, I thought I had some "quantum leap" in my skills, but I have been seeing more and more critcism about Betty Edward books... (example: http://chiseledrocks.com/main/musings/topics/snakeoil), I was forced to concour. I mean, yes it did improve, but it was NOT that jump and I am looking to become a good artist, not an merely observer... With bad habits!
In other words, was I fooled all along? I mean, yes it did improve, but it was NOT that jump! Is the Dodson's book good? What can I REALLY do improve ?
IF you are so easily swayed by others' opinions, and so easily discouraged, then yes, you are screwed. If it took you six months to get through DFTRSOTB, and you bought Dodson's book at the same time but haven't even bothered to look through it, then yes, you're screwed.
Draw more.What can I REALLY do improve ?
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
Haven't read either of the books. But if you did improve then that's good. If you don't think the book is enough for you to keep improving then use another book.
Just practice and do observational drawings. When you feel like it get into Loomis, Bridgeman or some other anatomy book. It doesn't really matter which one you use as long as you keep at it.
Oh for Pete's sake... Betty Edwards books do NOT "damage" people! The book got you started in drawing, you made a bit of progress, so all is well.
Now you can tackle some other books, try some other approaches, and keep drawing.
And you can go on reading different books and trying different approaches and drawing and drawing and drawing until you die. This isn't like religion, you don't have to stick to one teacher and one book all your life.
The thing about the Betty Edwards book is that it helps beginners get over that first hump of trying to draw what they see instead of drawing learned symbols. And, you know, it's pretty good for that. What the book doesn't do is teach you anything else about drawing. So after you've gotten past that first hurdle, it's not a bad idea to look for other instruction elsewhere...
As for the Dodson book being any good - well, you could always read it and find out, no? It certainly won't hurt; it might help.
But if you REALLY want to improve... keep drawing!
Also, just FYI... If you're expecting any book or teaching approach to magically give you super-awesome drawing skillz overnight... Sorry, that won't happen.
The only way to get good is to practice a lot for many years.
I have found this thread to be very useful to me:
My sketchbook thread:
You can't screw yourself up permanently in drawing whatever the hell you do for 6 months, unless it's like... hitting your hands with a hammer or looking directly into laser beams. Come on -- most people start drawing by copying cartoons for 6-12 years, and if that doesn't hurt them then 6 months of Betty Edwards isn't going to hurt you.
If you're serious about drawing then you'll be doing it for several more decades at least. You have time to make mistakes and fix them a thousand times over. Just don't do the exact same thing every day for the next 50 years and you'll be fine.
Forget the books and draw. Its really that simple. It really is.
I agree with everyone else really. I'm not sure what kind of "jump" you are expecting but if you improved at all then that's a GOOD thing. Keep up that momentum. If you feel the book can no longer help you, find other learning resources that can.
Also keep in mind that not everyone is going to learn the same way and find the same books useful. It's up to you to determine whether something is helping you or not. I'm sure the only universally praised method of learning how to draw is to draw from life.
Learn from many doifferent sources - they all have their pluses and minuses. The more you know... well, the more you know.
"That JUMP" doesn't exist.
It would be like reading a book or two and expecting to be suddenly fluent in Mandarin--
ain't gonna happen!
I think creating expectations like this is only real "damage" that Betty Edwards does.
But, do read the Dodson book-- it's a pretty good one. A bit pedantic, but good.
First, thanks to you all. You guys were very helpful!
I used to think that drawing was like... Tennis, for example, if you pick bad habits in the beginning, soon or later your skills would hit a plateu. You would have to come back and re-study everything until you find the "missing link".
And don't worry, I didn't buy Dodson's book just to sit pretty in my desk. I was pretending to use it after "Drawing with the right side of the brain"... I just thought that Edwards' book was that bad and that I was wasting my time with a false improvement.
Great link, blogmatix, by the way.
Drawing is "like tennis" in that it is a motor skill. So yes, you can pick up bad habits that you'll eventually have to get rid of. Including, but not limited to, watching what you are doing, spotting bad habits, and going back to the basics when you see the need.
It's not a "plateau" or a "wall" in the naive sense, too. More like a pile of old luggage that you keep hauling on your back and which prevents you from standing straight.
But it's unlikely you'd pick enough of these bad habits in just half a year. Wean yourself from Edwards and start practicing structural drawing, you'll be fine.
At this stage I think you should focus mostly on the fundamentals like perspective, anatomy, structural drawing, proper illustration process, etc. You can't be fooled by a basic principle like perspective because those rules are quite rigid. What I didn't like about Betty Edward is she said something about linear perspective not being important because her sight method was better?! That's bull you need to learn linear perspective before you can make any decent perspective sketch.
What's cool is once you know the basics all you have to do is study your subject matter, do some life drawings, then you can draw whatever the hell you want. At some point you need to move beyond the books and try your own thing..
Personally I found the easiest book to understand structural drawing was Michael Hamptons Figure Drawing book. Loomis is also great and some of the older Gnomon Workshop DVDs on perspective are great. I learned more about perspective from 2 hours of Scott Robertsons DVD than I did 2 semesters of art school. Your not screwed if you continuously search for the right answers and judge everything you read objectively. I hope you remember to have fun drawing too!
My sketchbook thread:
I'm not going to argue about which "method" is better, as there are too many schools nowadays that invent their own "systems". Inventing the wheel, as usual...
But as long as we compare art studies to sports...
Sight-size "method" is the same to me as playing tennis with a wall. Again. And again... and again.
You might feel like a pro until you get to the court.
I've seen too many master classes that prove that advanced students and art teachers have the most difficult time to break their old habits.
www.4-art.org - art educational books
www.Practicum.org - art educational portal
firstname.lastname@example.org - my direct e-mail
Russian Academy of Arts thread - all about it
There was a sign on the Academy building, “Free Arts”. “What’s that?”, we asked our professor. – “That’s to be able to create anything, but to create what you want to.”