Inspired to Learn

Learning is part desire and part sheer stubborn determination. If you love something you want to learn it. Even if you don’t, the idea of being conquered may not be acceptable.

The Stubborn
Learning WordPress, for instance, is my refusal to be beaten by a piece of software. But I hope you’ll forgive any odd places a Permalink sends you, for they are not cooperating. They are determined to have the blog itself as the main site page and everything is therefore out of whack. I know it is one tiny bit of code in many pages that is probably the cause. Finding it is the issue.

I have purchased a book on wordpress and am doing my best to figure out how to correct these things, as well as back it up, without causing anything to blow up, vanish or otherwise scramble my site.


The Love

Love on the other hand, is what made me learn to draw. What it was about horses that called me, I don’t know. Sometime when I was little I got bit by ‘the horse bug’. It’s incurable, although it may lie dormant for several years if significant others, children, school and job are loud enough to override it. But it never goes away completely.

The drawing part started with a book, called Pounding Hooves. The girl who (as usual) pines for a horse makes money by drawing. Suddenly, I wanted to do that too.

I started with tracing horses off of book covers. I found one book with a picture that included parts of the horse. Now I could trace that, label it. Then I could label all the others. Then I tried to draw without tracing and if I had all the parts labeled, I was doing something right. If not, I tried again.


Have you ever wanted to learn to draw more than stick figures?

Here is a secret that many people forget, or lose, in this pessimistic age. ANYONE CAN DRAW. Remember when you were a kid and doodled and colored without shame? Well, the truth is we all start with ‘stick’ figures and odd shaped people. Then, as we grow older, we realize our ‘art’ doesn’t come anywhere close to reality. Then comes the disillusionment.

Those of us who are good at art aren’t just talented. That’s only part of it. Some take three times as long to learn as others. Some are better then others. But I do think everyone can go beyond stick figures.

But they won’t, for the same reason I’ll never be an accountant. I don’t love numbers and don’t want to put in the time to improving my math to that level. There are only so many hours of the day, and someone invented the calculator.  It takes PRACTICE, many hours of it, to get good at everything. I’m still learning.

I still  practice portraits (my favorite movie and TV characters are my chosen ‘experimentees’) and I need reference pictures for many things, like dogs. That’s just the drawing part. Then there are all the different mediums like painting, pastels, digital and more.

Here are a few tips for those who want to learn to draw and willing to put the time in:

  1. Do what you LOVE. Want to draw people? Do fan art for your favorite movie, tv show or book. You can even try your family. Dogs? Go for it.
  2. Look out for media extras. If you love movies, you may have noticed the trend in DVD extras. Often the storyboards, making of information and interviews with creators can be inspiring. This goes for ‘Art of’ books too such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Narnia. Spirit has an excellent tutorial on drawing horses. Their is a great section in the Star Wars prequels on the art section as well.
  3.  Look for free sources like videos, tutorials and photos to work from.
  4.  Watch out for the copyright snare when drawing from other people’s pictures. As long as you are practicing, you are fine. That is free and fair use. Draw from the photo, trace, that’s how I did it. But remember: if you sell, that’s a copyright violation. Wait until you don’t need that source for anything but a casual reminder as to the shape of a particular dog breed’s ears or something. You need to be able to call the work your own to sell it legally. Mind you, you don’t need to be good at everything. I could do horses asleep with my off hand. Anything else takes more work.

What to use:

Any paper will do for practice except cheap newsprint or some of the kids drawing paper. You want something you can erase easily without a big mess or ripping to practice on. You can invest in good paper whenever you feel you are ready.

Any decent pencil, but you can get a range between 8H, HB (the usual) to 8B which is lightest to darkest. You want light for when you plan to erase a lot.

A good eraser: plastic erasers are great, rubber is crumbly, but generally, just get a good chunk.  You’ll find an eraser at the end of the pencil wears out pretty quick!

Drawing on the computer: If you have a decent drawing program and are really good with a mouse, why not? Their are two kinds of programs for it: vector and raster. Raster programs look more pixelated when resized, but they tend to feel more natural, more similar to using regular art tools. Vector is more ‘computerish’ and resizes easily. You can buy or even find free programs for both.

You can also find tablets to draw on (not the newer ipad type stuff) that come with a pen and plug in a computer’s usb port to allow even more natural action.


Finally: Draw what you love, be stubborn and when you look at a pile of rejected drawings remember:  that’s how we ALL started.