How to enjoy learning to draw environments?

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  1. #1
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    Unhappy How to enjoy learning to draw environments?

    This may seem like an odd question, but basically I really want to find a way to enjoy practicing and learning to draw environments.

    I love drawing the human figure, and as a result I love to practice drawing anatomy and it never feels like a chore. But whenever I try to get better at drawing environments, I always lose interest and rush the drawing, or feel discouraged because my drawing isn't 'good enough' and stop before I make any real progress.

    So I guess what I'm asking is, does anyone else have this problem? And does anyone have any ideas as to how I can start to enjoy learning to draw scenery?

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  3. #2
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    Put a figure in the scene, but don't let yourself draw the figure until the environment is "done".

    Relax and try to enjoy the ride. Figure out what helps you get into the "zone", whether it's a particular kind of music, a soothing drink, or a cool breeze. I like to burn incense, open a window, and put on ocean sounds. That might sound dumb, but it really helps me relax and get into the process of drawing.

    There are probably aspects to drawing environments that you would enjoy, but you haven't found them yet because you associate drawing landscapes will being bored and irritated. No matter what you're drawing, you're using the same principles and techniques. Drawing human forms is not that different to drawing the forms of hills or logs or clouds, but we have an automatic bias that human forms are interesting and relatable while hill forms are boring and dumb. I think that having spend years drawing still lifes helped me realise that anything can be interesting to draw, even if it's an old shoe or a dried up leaf, because what I love is exploring the forms of the subject and making it look special.

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  5. #3
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    Yeah I usually use music to get in the zone and stay focussed, and it normally works, but I find it doesn't seem to help as much with environment drawing. I've put figures in my environments before and it helped a little, but I still struggled to do any kind of detailed drawing and lost interest very quickly. I find it almost impossible to stay focussed enough to portray the environment in anything other than a simplified style, I just can't seem to make myself knuckle down and focus on the forms and tones and textures and depth. And it really bugs me because I really want to be able to enjoy drawing environments, but nothing seems to help and therefore I don't get much better at drawing them which makes me dislike drawing them even more.

    I did an entire project at uni which was focused on trying to improve my environment drawing, and all the drawings I did were really simple or sloppy because I just wasn't enjoying the process at all.

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    I could be wrong but I think your reasoning may be backward. You think you struggle drawing environments because you dont find them interesting, but maybe you dont find them interesting because they're a struggle? In other words, figures are you comfort zone, because you've practiced them enough that you can draw a figure without stressing too much. Unfortunately, you won't have fun drawing environments until you buckle down and just practice them. There's no magic bullet that makes it fun to learn a difficult new skill.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    I could be wrong but I think your reasoning may be backward. You think you struggle drawing environments because you dont find them interesting, but maybe you dont find them interesting because they're a struggle? In other words, figures are you comfort zone, because you've practiced them enough that you can draw a figure without stressing too much. Unfortunately, you won't have fun drawing environments until you buckle down and just practice them. There's no magic bullet that makes it fun to learn a difficult new skill.
    Yeah, you're probably right actually :/ I guess I just need to find the motivation to push forward with it. Maybe I should start using my sketchbook thread more, so that I can post any environments I do draw and document my progress. Perhaps that might encourage me a bit, I don't know.

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  9. #6
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    Put on a beret, sling a string of onions around your neck after donning a smock. Practice a fake French accent and you're good to go.

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  11. #7
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    This problem can be approached from a number of ways: story, more exploration and discovery aka research, abstraction. Brainstorm. Come up with a story that gets your interest, say a bar fight, now instead of focusing on the characters look at the place where they are, what could they use as weapons? Now this question about weapons makes you generate details, bottles and chairs and pool cues, and the space where the fight will occur. More research, look into things and places that interest you, maybe you like music say pianos, do a study of some cool looking piano, now think where do you usually see pianos, a recital hall, now you start seeing the details again: the space designed for it's acoustics, plus the chairs, the stage, now the people start appearing, the people in the environment make it seem more real. The two things characters and environments are related, they support each other, although in your head you've got the two separated because you have some type of mental hangup. Really an environment is only interesting for the human story that takes place in it. The greater your appreciation of abstraction the easier it will be to draw anything, because with you appreciation of the qualities of the abstract elements, shapes color etc, you can stick your favorite forms into things that you find boring from a story and psychological perspective i.e. a library in a retirement home. Another thing is you can build up an environment from human forms, you could loosely draw some figures having a conversation, that change the details to that of trees or building etc.

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    "Beliefs are rules for action"
    "Knowledge is proven in action."
    "It's use is it's meaning."
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